AG Urges Biden To Designate Drug Cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations

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Attorney General John Formella

Attorney General John M. Formella has joined a coalition of more than 20 states calling on President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to designate Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) under federal law. Doing so will free up resources to confront the deadly opioid crisis with the seriousness it deserves.

“We should all pay close attention to the fact that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration calls the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation Cartels ‘ruthless, violent, criminal organizations that are indiscriminately killing Americans at catastrophic and record rates.’ It is time we started treating these Cartels like the terror organizations that they are,” said Attorney General Formella. “Adding to the concern, we are now seeing cartels peddling a deadly new drug combination. They are mixing Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, known on the streets as ‘tranq,’ with drugs like cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. Due to this new combination, if a person overdoses and stops breathing, the Xylazine appears to lessen the effects of Narcan (Naloxone) and can prevent the Narcan from reversing the effects of an overdose.”

The opioid crisis has affected every state, county, city, town, and community in the United States. Last year, more than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses—and synthetic opioids like fentanyl were responsible for more than half. That is why Attorney General Formella joined 17 other state attorneys general in calling on the President to declare fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction on September 15th.

In the letter sent today, Attorney General Formella and his colleagues explain that the U.S. Government knows precisely how this poison is entering our country. Cartels like the Sinaloa cartel and Cartel Jalisco New Generation import raw materials from China, use them to produce deadly synthetic opioids at low cost, and traffic those poisons across the southwestern border and into our communities.

“For years now our DEA has been very clearly warning that these cartels are ‘intentionally poisoning Americans’ with vast quantities of illegal drugs like fentanyl while ‘sourcing their precursor chemicals from China.’ We need to be able to use every tool that our nation has to fight these groups who represent a clear and present threat to our national security,” added Attorney General Formella.

Between October 2021 and June 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 8,425 pounds of fentanyl smuggled into the United States. These cartels are doing much more than just smuggling poison into the United States. They are assassinating rivals and government officials, ambushing and killing Americans at the border, and engaging in an armed insurgency against the Mexican Government.

Designating major cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations will give state and federal law enforcement agencies increased authority to freeze cartel assets, deny entry to cartel members, and allow prosecutors to pursue stricter punishments against those who provide cartels with material support.

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