Texas representative wants to declare war on drug cartels

Dan Crenshaw (Photo: AP)

Representative Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) will introduce the Declaring War on the Cartels Act on Wednesday, targeting the most malignant actors taking advantage of the ongoing crisis at the southern border.

According to a summary of the bill obtained by National Review, the legislation was borne out of Crenshaw’s belief that “Mexican cartels are destroying rule of law in our country – trafficking drugs and people into the U.S..”

“They have used the money they make from their criminal activities to arm themselves and wage war against each other and the Mexican government. They are more than a criminal threat — they are a national security threat, and we should treat them that way,” the summary provided by Crenshaw’s office reads.

“We must take the cartels seriously and deter them and target them the same way we do terrorists. That is the only way to win,” the summary adds.

The bill would allow federal judges to tack ten to 20 years onto criminal sentences for crimes  — including crimes of violence, controlled substance violations, false statements, and human trafficking — committed by members of a Transnational Criminal Cartel (TCC).  This mechanism is modeled after existing legislation targeting members of criminal street gangs.

Per the summary, the legislation would also “establish authorities to combat Transnational Criminal Cartels” by prohibiting cartels from depositing funds in U.S. financial institutions and seizing those assets that are already there.

While existing anti-money laundering statues already prohibit such transactions, Crenshaw’s bill would increase enforcement with respect to cartels specifically by directing 75 percent of seized funds to the budgets of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), creating an enforcement feedback loop. The remaining 25 percent of seized assets would be directed toward the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

TYT Newsroom