Republican attorneys general in 21 states called on the Biden administration to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.
"Because of the severe threat to our nation and our States posed by these cartels, I hereby request that the Sinaloa Cartel, CJNG, and other similarly situated Mexican drug cartels be designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1189," the attorneys general wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday.
"Designating the cartels as FTOs will give state and federal law enforcement agencies increased powers to freeze cartel assets, deny entry to cartel members, and allow prosecutors to pursue tougher punishments against those who provide material support to the cartels."
The officials listed the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel as the main perpetrators, citing information from the Drug Enforcement Administration that the groups "import dangerous raw materials from China, use them to produce deadly synthetic opioids at low cost, and unlawfully transport those opioids into the United States."
The signers said the cartels also have connections to foreign terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group.
"The cartels' intense violence goes far beyond mere resistance to interference with their drug trafficking and now encompasses a general effort to intimidate rivals and expand their influence," the signers wrote. "This violence, which necessarily involves using firearms and explosives to kill security forces, plainly constitutes terrorist activity."
Biden on Tuesday during his State of the Union address called for an answer to America's fentanyl problem, prompting some Republican lawmakers to yell, "Border!"
One Republican shouted, "It's your fault."
"Fentanyl is killing more than 70,000 Americans a year," Biden said before he was interrupted.
When Republicans said Biden needs to close the border, he replied, "You got it," but didn't provide details.
"So let's launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo and stop pills and powder at the border," Biden said.
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