Trump weighs designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups

President Donald Trump may be on board with labeling Mexican drug cartels and their affiliated crime syndicates as foreign terrorist groups, following his recent declaration that the border crisis is a national emergency.

President Trump mirrored previous sentiments of Congressional lawmakers such as Republican Tennessee Rep. Mark Green, who suggested labeling cartels as foreign terror groups late last month.

“We’re thinking about doing it very seriously,” President Trump said. “In fact, we’ve been thinking about it for a long time. As terrorists – as terrorist organizations, the answer is yes. They are.”

By the definition of the US State Department, a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) must be a foreign organization that either practices or has the means to practice terrorism and “threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States.”

“Mexico, unfortunately, has lost control of the cartels,” President Trump said. “They’ve totally lost control of the cartels. Mexico last year had 42,000 deaths…murders…42,000. It’s considered one of the most unsafe countries in the world.”

According to, by labeling the cartels as an FTO, sanctions could be imposed and more aggressive action could be taken.

Several cartel groups in Mexico possess advanced military training and equipment, while some have their roots in special operations- the Los Zetas cartel, for example, was founded by deserters from the Mexican Special Forces, and even has some former US Army personnel within its ranks.

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