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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Lee, Graham introduce bill to designate drug cartels as terrorist organizations

Mar 29, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, are introducing legislation to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. They said if this passes, it will be a massive step forward in combating the fentanyl crisis which killed more than 100,000 Americans in 2022.

“We give our government additional tools to deal with them, additional tools to seize their assets, to make it more difficult for them to transfer funds, more difficult for them to do business,” Sen. Lee said.

The legislation would allow authorities to target not only the cartels, but anyone who provides material support to them. Fentanyl coming into America is being made in Mexico, but many of the precursor chemicals are made in China.

“So let’s say that we have intelligence that a ship coming out of China has these precursors or actual product to help the cartels under this designation. We could stop that ship, we could board that ship, and we can take that ship down,” Sen. Graham said.

“I believe we can make it less profitable for the suppliers in China, we make it less profitable to them, or in some cases, not profitable at all. They will stop,” Lee said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said recently that there are sections of Mexico that are not controlled by the government, but instead controlled by the cartels. The lawmakers hope this bill will not only let America take stronger action, but help Mexico do so as well. 

“The problem with Mexico, they don’t have the capability right now. Is it a will or capability problem, if they have the will, will help provide the capability. If you don’t have the will, we’re going to have to act on our own,” Graham said.

In an effort to build bipartisan support for the legislation, Graham said he’s willing to work with Democrats, particularly Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. He is willing to negotiate on their priorities including sentencing reform for non-violent drug offenses and sentencing disparities for crack cocaine and powder cocaine, which disproportionately impact people of color.

The fentanyl crisis has worsened because many people who overdose don’t know they’re taking the potent drug. They buy other painkillers or less dangerous drugs like Percocets that are laced with lethal doses of fentanyl.

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Senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee are introducing legislation to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. They say if this passes, it will be a massive step forward in combating the fentanyl crisis which killed more than 100 thousand people in 2022. 

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: “We give our government additional tools to deal with them, additional tools to seize their assets, to make it more difficult for them to transfer funds, more difficult for them to do business.” 

This legislation would allow authorities to target not only the cartels, but anyone who provides material support to them. The Fentanyl coming into America is being made in Mexico, but many of the precursor chemicals are made in China. 

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham: “So let’s say that we have intelligence that a ship coming out of China has these precursors or actual product to help the cartels under this designation, we could stop that ship, we could board that ship, and we can take that ship down.” 

 

Sen. Lee: “I believe we can make it less profitable for the suppliers in China, we make it less profitable to them, or in some cases, not profitable at all. They will stop.” 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said recently that there are sections of Mexico that are not controlled by the government, but instead controlled by the cartels. The lawmakers hope this bill will not only let America take stronger action, but help Mexico do so as well. 

Graham: “The problem with Mexico, they don’t have the capability right now. Is it a will or capability problem, if they have the will, will help provide the capability. If you don’t have the will, we’re going to have to act on our own.”

In an effort to build bipartisan support for the legislation, Graham says he’s willing to work with democrats, particularly Senator Cory Booker, on sentencing reform for non violent drug offenses and sentencing disparities for crack cocaine and powder cocaine, which disproportionately impact people of color. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.