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 Treasury Action Targets Burmese Drug Cartel


11/13/2008

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Washington, DC--The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today named 26 individuals and 17 companies tied to Burma's Wei Hsueh Kang and the United Wa State Army (UWSA) as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). 

"The United Wa State Army is the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in Southeast Asia and is a major producer and exporter of synthetic drugs, including methamphetamine," said OFAC Deputy Director Barbara C. Hammerle.   "Today OFAC is targeting the Wa's lieutenants and the financial holdings of this massive drug trafficking organization.   We call on other nations to do the same."  

On June 1, 2000, the President identified Wei Hsueh Kang as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker under the Kingpin Act.   Wei is a senior commander of the UWSA, which the President subsequently identified as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker on May 29, 2003.   In January 2005, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York unsealed a criminal indictment charging Wei, along with his brothers Wei Hsueh Lung and Wei Hsueh Ying, who are designated today, for narcotics trafficking.   The U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to $2,000,000 for information leading to Wei Hsueh Kang's capture.

Other key individuals designated by OFAC today are Pao Yu Hsiang, Ho Chun Ting and Shih Kuo Neng.   Pao Yu Hsiang, indicted in 2005 with Wei Hsueh Kang, is the Commander-in-Chief of the UWSA.   In May 2005, prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York charged Ho Chun Ting and Shih Kuo Neng, among others, with money laundering and narcotics trafficking.   In October 2007, Hong Kong authorities arrested Ho Chun Ting, a partner of Wei Hsueh Kang, but Hong Kong later released him for unknown reasons. Shih Kuo Neng is the manager of the Hong Pang conglomerate of companies, many of which are also designated today.  

Today's designation would not have been possible without key support from the Drug Enforcement Administration's offices in Thailand and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York.

This action is part of ongoing efforts under the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers worldwide.   Internationally, 419 businesses and individuals associated with 75 drug kingpins have been designated by OFAC pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000.

The designation action freezes any assets the 43 designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting transactions or dealings in the property interests of the designated individuals and entities. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,075,000 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5,000,000. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10,000,000. Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison, and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code, for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

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