Vittert: Drug cartels should be labeled terrorists

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — A major step forward in the fight against Mexican drug cartels killing 100,000 Americans a year: The Texas Department of Public Safety now says we should call them terrorist organizations.

“Why not label these cartels as terrorists, to actually go after them, and actually put a more aggressive stance and dismantle these organizations in Mexico, but also work with local authorities as well and focus on the criminals that are working with the cartels in the United States as well,” said Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas DPS.

We have been saying it for a long time, dating back to May.

The cartels aren’t gangs, they are de facto armies.

Much of northern Mexico is now a narco state. The U.S. State Department says Americans should not go to northern Mexico, period, citing kidnappings and unchecked cartel violence.

Last weekend, turf wars across northern Mexico turned into running gun battles. The mayor of one town on the border told businesses to just pay the cartels their protection money, admitting the Mexican army and police either don’t care or are too corrupt to put up a fight.

The cartels make an estimated $20 billion-plus a year trafficking drugs and people into the United States.

Combined, they are somewhere around the financial size of Burger King.

To make that money, they kill roughly 100,000 Americans a year with drug overdoses. Four thousand of those killed are between 18 and 45 years old, making this the leading cause of death for young Americans.

The cartels now make fentanyl pills that look like candy, thus hooking an even younger generation.

For comparison, terrorists killed 3,000 in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and we’ve spent 20 years avenging their deaths.

Cartels kill that many Americans every 15 days.

If that doesn’t qualify you as a terrorist group, what does?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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