The massacre of nine Americans by a Mexican drug cartel this week creates yet another excellent opportunity for the U.S. government to finally designate the sophisticated criminal operations as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). Judicial Watch has long advocated for this and earlier this year published a White Paper providing comprehensive documentation that Mexican drug cartels undoubtedly meet the U.S. government’s requirements to be designated as FTOs.
To meet 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. On Monday one of the illicit Mexican enterprises ambushed and murdered six children—including 8-month-old twins—and three women on a highway in the Mexican border state of Sonora. Other children, including an infant and toddler, survived with some seriously wounded.
Mexico has not identified the cartel responsible for the horrific attack, but reports indicate it was a calculated and well-planned operation typical of an organized criminal enterprise. The victims received no help from Mexican authorities, according to one of the family members quoted in the country’s largest newspaper. Julian LeBaron said that fellow family members responded to the crime scene because officials in Chihuahua and Sonora refused to help. He said he wasn’t sure if it was out of fear, or because they were cowards or in cahoots with the delinquents. In a smaller, Sonoran newspaper article, LeBaron revealed that a young girl, a cousin of his, who survived the ambush walked 14 kilometers with a gunshot wound. The outrageous anecdotes indicate Mexico can’t be relied upon to combat the cartels and the U.S. must act.