The US Treasury Department on Thursday imposed sanctions on three Libyans and a Malta-based company, accusing them of acting as a network of smugglers and contributing to instability in Libya.
The Treasury in a statement said it blacklisted Faysal al-Wadi, accusing him of having smuggled drugs and Libyan fuel into Malta.
Also blacklisted were two associates, Musbah Mohamad M Wadi and Nourddin Milood M Musbah, Malta-based company Alwefaq Ltd, and the vessel Maraya, which the Treasury said Wadi used in his smuggling operations.
The Treasury said that "competition for control of smuggling routes, oil facilities, and transport nodes is a key driver of conflict in Libya and deprives the Libyan people of economic resources."
Thursday's action freezes any US assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.
"Faysal al-Wadi and his associates have smuggled fuel from Libya and used Libya as a transit zone to smuggle illicit drugs," said Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich.
"The United States is committed to exposing illicit networks exploiting Libya’s resources for their own profit while hurting the Libyan people," he added.
In a related development, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed in a phone conversation the "importance of supporting a UN-brokered ceasefire in Libya through political and economic talks," the State Department said.