(USNewsMag.com) – On March 8, the Biden administration said that it would not back proposals to designate drug cartels in Mexico as foreign terrorist organizations (FTO), noting that such a step would be of little use in countering the activities of these groups.
Senators. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Kennedy (R-LA) have filed a bill that would name nine gangs in Mexico as FTOs and allow the use of military action against them. Many other Republicans have also urged Biden to do the same.
Graham said that all available methods should be used immediately, “in the military lane,” as well as within the prosecution and law enforcement sectors. Currently, the United States government lacks the authority to prosecute people or organizations for giving material assistance to FTOs, but this would change with the addition of the FTO classification.
A spokesperson for the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre, recently assured reporters that the United States would not gain any new powers by labeling the cartels from Mexico as FTOs. In order to target drug trafficking groups and the people and institutions who aid them, the US has strong sanctions authority.
And that, Jean-Pierre went on to add, has been happening in recent months. Actions that further empower the Treasury to penalize foreigners have been taken. Other measures against deadly cartels have also been taken, all of which have made it more difficult for drug dealers to conceal their funds from the US authorities.
After a deadly abduction in the Mexican border city of Matamoros, which serves as a staging area for various trafficking activities involving many drug gangs, proposals to label cartel gangs as FTOs gathered momentum among politicians. Four Americans were taken hostage after they were collateral damage in a conflict between two opposing groups. In addition to the two confirmed fatalities, the surviving individuals were brought back to the US for medical care.
Graham said that President Obrador had let his country fall under the control of drug lords. He dismissed the administration’s worry that Obrador strongly opposed the US government’s plan to label his country’s gangs as FTOs.
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