Mexican drug cartels like the one that murdered nine Americans in an ambush on Monday post a threat similar to that of terror groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS), according to the sheriff of an Arizona county that sits on the southern U.S. border.
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels appeared on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Tuesday and said it has been a troubling time for the community in the area.
"Think about what ISIS does and think about what the cartels do. They terrorize," Dannels said. "They kill both their own citizens -- they kill Americans, as demonstrated last night."
"We know one thing for sure, the cartels are behind it," he said.
Dannels said ISIS has a history of beheading its captives and that cartels often murder their victims in a similar way.
"It’s time we step up and list them as terrorists," Dannels said of the Mexican drug cartels.
"Back in June, we had double-digit homicides by the cartels in the same areas," he added. "It's a sad day in our international community down here."
Cochise County is southeast of Tuscon and borders Agua Prieta, Mexico. It sits only a few dozen miles north of where the nine U.S. citizens were murdered.
Dannels said the massacre also highlights the need for securing the border in his county and others, as well as the need to keep violent drug traffickers out of the United States.
Earlier Tuesday, House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called on U.S. officials to consider taking the cartel problem into America's own hands if the violence continues to affect Americans.
"[Mexican] President [Andres Manuel] Lopez Obrador came into office almost a year ago saying that his strategy for dealing with the cartels was going to be more hugs, not bullets," Cotton said on "Your World."
"That may work in a children's fairy tale, but in the real world when three American women and six American children were gunned down and burned alive, the only thing that can counteract bullets is more and bigger bullets," Cotton said. "If the Mexican government cannot protect American citizens in Mexico, then the United States may have to take matters into our own hands."