The Obama administration has hit two men with sanctions for allegedly laundering money on behalf of Mexican and Colombian drug cartels.
The move blocks any assets in the U.S. belonging to Lebanese-Colombian nationals Jorge Fadlallah Cheaitelly and Mohamad Zouheir El Khansa, and blocks Americans from doing business with them.
The Treasury Department said Cheaitelly leads a Panama-based drug trafficking and money laundering organization with operations as far as Hong Kong. El Khansa is seen as a key partner.
The department also applied sanctions to nine people with ties to the men, and 28 entities in Colombia, Panama, Lebanon and Hong Kong.
The department's sanctions chief, Adam Szubin, said the U.S. was forcing a major money laundering network out of the international financial system, undermining its ability to help the cartels.