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NewsLink: Mexican Drug Cartels Should Be Classified as Foreign Terrorist Organizations

Mexican Drug Cartels continue to pose a very real threat to communities across America. With the recent massacre of an American family in Northern Mexico, it has become increasingly apparent that President López Obrador’s government is doing little to crack down on cartel violence. The nearly unchecked influence and power exercised by drug cartels in Mexico and good parts of the southwest U.S. – Mexico border demonstrate the need for Washington to embolden its posture in the protection of U.S. Citizens. It’s time for the U.S. to classify drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).

Read the story from The Federalist below along with Judicial Watch’s Corruption Chronicles to see how Judicial Watch has called for drug cartels to be labeled as FTOs.

From The Federalist:

It’s Time For The United States To Wage War On Mexican Drug Cartels
(10/31/2019)

The American family gunned down Monday in northern Mexico should be a wake-up call for U.S. policymakers that the spiraling cartel violence in Mexico is not going to remain south of the Rio Grande, and that the time has come to fight back against the cartels—unilaterally, if need be.

The brazen daylight ambush, in which at least six children and three women from a Mormon community near the U.S.-Mexico border were killed, is the latest flashpoint in the growing instability of the Mexican state and the country’s descent into warlordism.

Monday’s attack, in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, targeted the LeBarón family, members of a Mormon community of dual Mexican and American citizens who have lived in the border region for decades. It was unclear why the caravan of three vehicles came under fire, but gruesome news reports detailed the intentional slaughter of defenseless women and children, some of whom were burned to death inside their vehicles. Family members told The New York Times that one child was gunned down while running away.

Read the Full Article Here.

From Judicial Watch:

1. Cartels Are Criminal, National Security, Public Health Threats to United States (6/4/2019)

“Mexican drug cartels have headquarters throughout the United States and are one of the country’s greatest criminal, national security and public health threats, according to a veteran Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) senior agent pushing the federal government to designate them as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). “The Mexican cartels have left a trail of blood using intimidation and terrorist acts of ruthless violence,” said Derek S. Maltz, a narco-terror expert who helped establish the Counter Narco-Terrorism Operations Center (CNTOC) before retiring from the DEA. The CNTOC has busted many bigtime narco-terrorism operations, including a money laundering scheme that supported the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

“The cartels engage in beheadings, car bombings, dissolving humans in acid, mass murders, torture, bombings and political assassinations,” Maltz said. “Their actions are consistent with the behaviors of traditional terrorists and they have infiltrated the highest levels of the Mexican government with bribes and corruption.” The former DEA agent added that “Mexican drug cartels have utilized techniques which focus on mind manipulation and behavioral modification commonly utilized by organizations such as Al-Qaeda.” The troubling details were delivered during recent testimony before the Ohio legislature, where Maltz made a powerful case for designating Mexican drug cartels as FTOs. Following a massive bust of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel in the Buckeye State, a resolution was introduced to get the federal government to make the change so that it may use “appropriate means to mitigate and eventually eliminate the operations of the cartels.” Last week a criminal justice committee heard testimony as the resolution  advances in the Ohio legislature. Maltz was a key expert witness, telling the panel that cartels “have major hubs in Southern California, Arizona, Chicago, Texas, New York and Atlanta” and have “expanded into South Florida.”

The resolution states that Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCO) based in Mexico (drug cartels) are responsible for the flow of opioids across the border into the United States and Ohio and that they are also responsible for the proliferation of human trafficking in the United States, particularly Ohio, as part and parcel of their drug trafficking operations. The measure points out that drug cartels conduct operations on U.S. soil in furtherance of drug and human trafficking and that abuse of opioids and human trafficking are direct threats to the economy, well-being and overall vitality of the state of Ohio and its citizens. “The acting administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Uttam Dhillon, recently declared Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the biggest criminal threat the United States faces today,” the Ohio resolution states.”

Read More Here.

2. Judicial Watch Makes Case to Designate Mexican Cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (3/13/2019)

As the Trump administration considers designating Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), Judicial Watch provides comprehensive documentation that the sophisticated criminal operations meet the U.S. government’s requirements to make the list. In a White Paper released this week Judicial Watch outlines the unique challenges and national security risks posed by Mexican Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCO) and human trafficking. The threats require policy changes that include classifying Mexican TCOs as FTOs and a reassessment of Mexico under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which requires countries to implement measures that address human trafficking in order to receive American aid. Mexico does not meet the minimum standards in several key areas, according to State Department documents obtained by Judicial Watch for the White Paper.

Undoubtedly, Mexican drug cartels meet the U.S. government’s criteria for FTO designation, which requires organizations to be foreign, engage in terrorism or terrorist activity or possess the capability and intent to do so and pose a threat to U.S. nationals or U.S. national security. Mexican drug cartels are inherently foreign, routinely commit criminal acts within the statutory definition of terrorism and arguably represent a more immediate and ongoing threat to U.S. national security than any of the currently-designated FTOs on the State Department list. Properly designating the major Mexican TCOs—including Los Zetas, Juárez and Sinaloa cartels—as FTOs would enhance the federal government’s ability to combat that threat. An official FTO designation would enable the prosecution of those who provide material support to them, facilitate the denial of entry and deportation of TCO members and affiliates and eliminate the organizations’ access to the U.S. financial system. “FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business,” according to the State Department.

For years Mexican cartels have hijacked and sabotaged buses, commercial trucks and trains, activity constituting terrorist activity under U.S. law. The White Paper lists specific cases, including gasoline tankers and more than a dozen robberies daily of Ferromex trains, one of the three largest rail transport operators in the country. Mexican TCOs have also committed hundreds of political assassinations in recent years and members of Los Zetas launched a grenade and shot small arms fire at the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey. Los Zetas members also murdered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Zapata a few years ago. Judicial Watch’s White Paper also documents Mexican cartels’ use of explosive devices and high-caliber firearms, including rocket-propelled grenades and other military weapons. In 2018 Mexican officials seized nearly 2,000 high-caliber weapons from suspected cartel associates in Mexico City and there have been approximately 150,000 organized-crime related murders in Mexico since 2006. Last year alone, there were nearly 1,200 kidnappings in Mexico, according to official figures provided in the White Paper.

Read the Full Story Here.

3. Ohio Seeks to Designate Mexican Cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations After Sinaloa Bust (4/16/2019)

Following a massive bust of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel in Ohio, state legislators are utilizing many of Judicial Watch’s arguments to get the federal government to designate Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). In a resolution introduced this month, lawmakers in the Buckeye State “respectfully urge the federal government to designate the drug cartels operating from Mexico as foreign terrorist organizations, so that the government may use appropriate means to mitigate and eventually eliminate the operations of the cartels.”

The resolution states that Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCO) based in Mexico (drug cartels) are responsible for the flow of opioids across the border into the United States and Ohio and that they are also responsible for the proliferation of human trafficking in the United States, particularly Ohio, as part and parcel of their drug trafficking operations. The document points out that drug cartels conduct operations on U.S. soil in furtherance of drug and human trafficking and that abuse of opioids and human trafficking are direct threats to the economy, well-being and overall vitality of the state of Ohio and its citizens. “The acting administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Uttam Dhillon, recently declared Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the biggest criminal threat the United States faces today,” the Ohio resolution states.

The measure further points out that the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the U.S. Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General, to designate an organization as an FTO when certain criteria are met. Drug cartels meet the criteria, Ohio lawmakers assert, because they are foreign in nature, engage in or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorism and threaten the security of American citizens and the national defense, foreign relations and economic interests of the United States.

Judicial Watch made parallel arguments in a White Paper published last month. In it, Judicial Watch provides comprehensive documentation that Mexican drug cartels, notoriously sophisticated criminal operations, undoubtedly meet the U.S. government’s requirements to be designated FTOs. The criteria for FTO designation requires that organizations be foreign, engage in terrorism or terrorist activity or possess the capability and intent to do so and pose a threat to U.S. nationals or U.S. national security. Mexican drug cartels are inherently foreign, routinely commit criminal acts within the statutory definition of terrorism and arguably represent a more immediate and ongoing threat to U.S. national security than any of the currently-designated FTOs on the State Department list.

Read the Full Story Here.