April 24, 2024

SIGNED INTO LAW: Brown’s Bill to Crack Down on Fentanyl Traffickers Becomes Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) bipartisan legislation to crack down on fentanyl traffickers in Mexico and China was signed into law as part of the bipartisan national security legislation. The FEND Off Fentanyl Act takes action to expand sanctions to illicit fentanyl traffickers in Mexico and the creators of precursor chemicals in China. Senator Brown worked with law enforcement to craft the legislation, and national and Ohio law enforcement praised the bill’s passage last night.

“This important law will allow us to go directly after the drug cartels’ billions in illicit profits, targeting the entire fentanyl supply chain and sanctioning illicit opioid traffickers and money launderers in China and Mexico,” said Brown. “Law enforcement in Ohio and around the country made it clear that we needed more tools to stop fentanyl at its source, and because of our work together, those tools are now law and can begin to be put to use going after the cartels. Today is an important step in our fight to stop the illicit fentanyl that is flooding Ohio communities.”


The FEND Off Fentanyl Act is a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill to help combat the country’s fentanyl crisis by targeting opioid traffickers devastating Ohio communities. The bill will enhance current law so U.S. government agencies can more effectively disrupt illicit opioid supply chains and penalize those facilitating the trafficking of fentanyl. The bill also ensures that sanctions are imposed not only on the illicit drug trade, but also on the money laundering that makes it profitable.

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Declare that the international trafficking of fentanyl is a national emergency.
  • Require the President to sanction transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels’ key members engaged in international fentanyl trafficking.
  • Enable the President to use proceeds of forfeited, sanctioned property of fentanyl traffickers to further law enforcement efforts.
  • Enhance the ability to enforce sanctions violations thereby making it more likely that people who defy U.S. law will be caught and prosecuted.
  • Require the administration to report to Congress on actions the U.S. government is taking to reduce the international trafficking of fentanyl and related opioids.
  • Allow the Treasury Department to utilize special measures to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.
  • Require the Treasury Department to prioritize fentanyl-related suspicious transactions and include descriptions of drug cartels’ financing actions in Suspicious Activity Reports.

More information about the bill can be found here, bill text can be found here.

Senator Brown’s Work to Combat Fentanyl:

Brown has a long history of leadership in fighting to stop the flow of fentanyl into Ohio’s communities. In addition to his bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act, which imposes new sanctions and anti-money laundering penalties targeting the illicit fentanyl supply chain, Brown also is pushing to pass his bipartisan Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act. The POWER Act would establish a new grant program through the U.S. Department of Justice to help state and local law enforcement organizations secure high-tech, portable drug screening devices. This legislation builds off Brown’s INTERDICT Act, which President Trump signed into law and which provides U.S. Customs and Border Protection with high-tech screening equipment and lab resources to detect fentanyl before it enters the U.S. 

Brown helped pass the bipartisan Protecting First Responders from Secondary Exposure (PREVENT) Act which allows state and local governments to purchase containment devices to safely store dangerous drugs and preserve them for evidentiary use, and provide first responders training to reduce their risk of secondary exposure to lethal substances. He has also introduced the Stop Fentanyl at the Border Act, which increases staffing and technology to detect illicit drugs and other contraband being smuggled through ports of entry or at illegal crossings along the border.