The Treasury Department announced sanctions Thursday on La Nueva Familia Michoacana, a Mexican drug trafficking organization that authorities blame for the rise of “rainbow fentanyl,” the latest iteration of the dangerous synthetic opioid.
Rainbow fentanyl comes in bright colors, which authorities say is an attempt to hook a younger clientele on the drug.
Brian E. Nelson, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, called the outfit “one of the most violent and depraved” cartels operation today.
“Not only does this cartel traffic fentanyl, which claimed the lives of more than 108,000 Americans last year, it now markets ‘rainbow fentanyl’ as part of a deliberate effort to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults,” he said in a statement announcing the sanctions.
The cartel’s two Mexican leaders, Johnny Hurtado and Jose Hurtado, were also designated for sanctions.
Both are already wanted men in Mexico, and Johnny Hurtado is a fugitive from drug charges in the U.S.
Thursday’s sanctions freeze assets the Hurtados or the cartel have stored with American institutions or persons.
La Nueva Familia Michoacana is a successor to La Familia Michoacana, which surged onto the scene in 2006, but suffered after the 2011 downfall of its then-leader.