Mexican drug cartels are guilty of engaging in myriad illicit acts, from kidnapping, human trafficking and drug smuggling to extortion, murder and routinely breaching the United States border. Sen. Blaise Ingoglia says that’s more than enough reason to designate them as terrorist organizations, a move that would unlock more foreign sanction options and ease indictments of their accomplices.
Ingoglia, a Spring Hills Republican and former Florida GOP Chair, filed a measure this week (SM 1020) calling on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to label cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).
Doing so, the measure said, would enable “appropriate means (to) be initiated to mitigate and, eventually, eliminate (cartels’) operations.”
“It is time to get serious about stopping the plague that is human and drug trafficking,” Ingoglia said in a statement Wednesday. “In addition to fixing the perennially broken legal immigration system and stopping the influx of illegal immigrants, this is a great first step to protecting Americans.”
Ingoglia is hardly alone in calling for stricter enforcement against cartels. In March, U.S. Sens. Rick Scott and Roger Marshall reintroduced the Drug Cartel Terrorist Designation Act to designate four cartels as FTOs following the kidnapping and murder of two American citizens in Tamaulipas, Mexico. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy filed a companion measure.
Ingoglia’s bill cites the murders as a reason for the FTO designation. It also notes that in fiscal 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 27,000 pounds of fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid, and millions of fentanyl pills.
That, the bill says, is “enough to kill every American several times over (but) represents a mere 10-15% of the fentanyl actually sent across the border into the United States each year.”