Senators push bill designating cartels as 'terrorist organizations' after Americans killed in Mexico
Two Americans were found dead in Matamoros, Mexico, Tuesday
EXCLUSIVE: GOP Senators Roger Marshall and Rick Scott are reintroducing legislation designating Mexican drug cartels as "terrorist organizations" following the kidnappings and murder of two Americans this week.
The Drug Cartel Terrorist Designation Act would designate certain Mexican cartels as "Foreign Terrorist Organizations," giving U.S. law enforcement additional power to fight back against cartel violence. It would also criminalize the act of helping cartel members enter the U.S., and allow the Treasury secretary to freeze assets of cartels and block monetary transactions.
Two Americans were found dead in Matamoros, Mexico, Tuesday after an initial group of four was kidnapped over the weekend by gunmen in what authorities say was likely a case of mistaken identity.
"What happened in Mexico yesterday was a tragedy and a symptom of a larger problem stemming from the culture supported by our national leadership," said Marshall, R-Kan., in a statement to Fox News Digital on Wednesday.
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"The drug cartels have taken full advantage of the culture of lawlessness Joe Biden has created by leaving our southern border wide open, promoting cashless bail, defunding the police, turning his back on violent riots, and denying the fentanyl crisis is created by his policies," he said.
The remaining two survivors, Eric Williams and LaTavia Washington McGee, were transported to a hospital in Brownsville, Texas, after U.S. authorities worked with Mexican law enforcement to help bring back the victims, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
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One of the four kidnapping victims was identified as Zindell Brown of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, by his older sister, Zalandria Brown. Brown told the Associated Press that her brother and two other friends were accompanying a fourth friend to Mexico for a tummy tuck surgery.
"For too long, Biden’s botched border policies have prioritized criminals and cartels over legal immigration and Americans’ safety," added Scott, R-Fla. "Dictators, cartels and bad guys around the world know that Biden is a weak appeaser with open border policies."
"They’re taking full advantage by trafficking evil drugs like fentanyl across the southern border, poisoning our communities and killing our loved ones," said Scott. "Those who knowingly distribute these highly lethal drugs are declaring war on Americans and deserve to be held accountable and classified as the terrorists they are."
Former Attorney General Bill Barr called on the U.S. government to treat the Mexican drug cartels the same way they would Islamic terrorist groups overseas this week following the kidnappings.
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"They are terrorists," Barr said on "Jesse Watters Primetime," adding that the proverbial fifth hostage in the scenario is the Mexican government under President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
"The Mexican government is being held hostage by tens of thousands of paramilitary members of terrorist organizations that effectively control Mexico. It's pretty close at this stage to a failed narco-state. They can use violence and oceans of cash to corrupt the government. The government has no will, and it doesn't have the ability to deal with the cartels," he said.