Congressman Francis Rooney on the use of the Kingpin Act
Washington, D.C.- Today, Congressman Francis Rooney issued the following statement regarding narcotics trafficking in Latin America, following a House Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing on the effectiveness of the Kingpin Act.
Congressman Rooney stated “Designating drug traffickers as ‘Kingpins’ is a key to United States national security, and is a strong tool to combat the narcotics trade in the Western Hemisphere. Kingpin designations have successfully been used to sanction drug traffickers in Latin America. The Act has targeted the FARC in Colombia, and major drug cartels and their leaders in Mexico.”
Rooney continued “The Act has been recently used to target members of the Maduro regime in Venezuela who engage in the illicit narcotics trade, and support Hezbollah, an Islamic terrorist group. The strongest use of the Kingpin Act occurred in February 2017, when the United States Department of the Treasury designated Venezuelan Vice President Tareck el-Aissami and his associate Samark Lopez as drug traffickers, freezing their access to an estimated $3 billion. As Maduro’s corrupt regime and its members continue to suppress democracy, commit human rights abuses and support terrorist groups, the United States and other democracies should continue to apply pressure on the Venezuelan government.”
The Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, better known as the Kingpin Act, was enacted in 1999 to combat narcotics trafficking and deny dealers and cartels access to the United States financial system. Currently, 65 individuals and 16 organizations connected to the Western Hemisphere are designated under Tier 1 of the Act, which is used to sanction those of significant concern regarding narcotics trafficking.