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Remarks by Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson at the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue

October 5, 2023 / Source: Treasury

As Prepared for Delivery

Good morning.  I am honored to join Secretary Blinken, Secretary Mayorkas, and Attorney General Garland today at the third U.S.-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue.  We appreciate the warm welcome and hospitality here in Mexico City.

Treasury values our close and longstanding relationship with Mexican authorities in developing and implementing sanctions actions together against those who traffic drugs, arms, and even people.  Our respective sanctions authorities are very powerful tools, particularly when we take joint or parallel actions.  However, sanctions are just one tool available to disrupt the finances of these criminal enterprises.  To better leverage the range of our financial tools, we convened our Principals Strategic Dialogue on Illicit Finance (SDIF) with Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (the UIF), our longtime cohost, in August. At that meeting, we advanced workstreams on financial flow typologies related to fentanyl precursors and focused on emerging schemes like timeshare fraud that are being used by criminal organizations.

Treasury has also worked to increase our engagement with the private sector both in the United States and Mexico. Given our strong financial connectivity, we share many of the same challenges.  One such challenge we are working to tackle is unmasking the opaque networks behind the precursor chemical trade.  To identify the procurement channels, brokers, and professional money launderers who enable this deadly business, it’s not enough to expand our governments’ intelligence – we also need to make sure financial institutions are empowered to understand and interdict the illicit financial flows powering these networks.

That’s why, on the SDIF sidelines in August and in addition to our regular Bilateral Public-Private Banking Working Group, Treasury also hosted its first cross-border public-private roundtable. This allowed U.S. and Mexican participants from financial regulators, law enforcement, and financial institutions to exchange priorities and approaches to prevent and prosecute the misuse of the financial sector for drug trafficking, the procurement of precursor chemicals, and other crimes.  Treasury commits to continue building these public private efforts.

The transnational nature of these criminal organizations and their financial networks requires strong partnership between our two countries to achieve our shared goal of dismantling these deadly operations.  I appreciate the opportunity to represent Treasury at this Dialogue and, on behalf of Secretary Yellen, offer our strong our commitment to continue building this crucial partnership.