Sinema Calls for Increased Measures to Combat the Financing of Dangerous Drug Cartels, Keep Arizona Families Safe

May 21, 2019

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema today in a Senate Banking Committee hearing highlighted the need to crack down on drug cartels and human traffickers by cutting off their finances. Sinema called for reforms to strengthen anti-money laundering laws while giving law enforcement key tools to unravel crime syndicates operating at the southern border.
“In order to defeat the drug cartels and keep Arizona families safe, we need more than border security. We have to cut off the finances that fuel their operations and shut them out of the U.S. banking system,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Banking Committee.  
In today’s hearing, Sinema pledged to continue her work strengthening anti-money laundering laws to stop drug cartels, fight terrorism, and end the scourge of human and sex trafficking.
Sinema also illustrated how Arizona bears the brunt of Washington’s failure to address the southern border crisis. In 2018, nearly 86 percent of the hard narcotics that flowed into Arizona came through the ports of entry. Over the years, the Sinaloa Cartel and other criminal groups have moved millions of pounds of methamphetamine and heroin from Mexico through Arizona. Sinema reminded the hearing that the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín Guzmán, also known as El Chapo, was convicted of laundering billions of dollars through the U.S. banking system. 
Earlier this year, Sinema helped introduce the FinCEN Improvement Act, legislation she also championed in the U.S. House that improves the federal government’s counter threat finance capabilities to keep Arizonans safe. In 2015, Sinema introduced a bill that requires government to develop a coordinated, national strategy to combat the financing of terrorism. Her bipartisan bill was signed into law in 2017. As required by Sinema’s law, the Treasury Department released in August the first-of-its-kind illicit finance report, bringing needed emphasis to this critical national security issue. Last Congress, Sinema also introduced a pair of bipartisan bills to disrupt the financing of transnational criminal syndicates like Sinaloa and stop the financing of weapons of mass destruction by rogue states like North Korea and Iran. Both bills passed the U.S. House with large, bipartisan majorities.