The Mexican government responded to President Donald Trump saying on Tuesday that he intends to designate the Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations by asking to meet with the Trump administration.
Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relations said in a statement that Mexico’s Foreign Minister will make contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the matter.
“By virtue of the good relations that exist between the two countries, the Government of Mexico will seek to have a high-level meeting as soon as possible to present Mexico’s position and know the views of the United States authorities,” the statement said.
Mexico said that it wanted to address money, weapons, and organized crime that flows from the United States into Mexico.
Trump made the announcement during an interview with Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday when O’Reilly asked him about the matter.
“One of the things that you’ve said to me … is that if another country murdered 100,000 Americans with guns we would go to war with that country,” O’Reilly said. “Yet, the Mexican drug cartels kill more than 100,000 Americans every year by the importation of dangerous narcotics.”
“Are you going to designate those cartels in Mexico as terror groups and start hitting them with drones and things like that?” O’Reilly asked.
“I don’t want to say what I am going to do, but they will be designated,” Trump replied. “I’ve already offered Mexico … to let us go in and clean it out and he so far has rejected the offer but at some point something has to be done. Look, we are losing 100,000 people a year to what is happening and what is coming through on Mexico.”
“So you are going to designate the Mexican cartels as terror groups?” O’Reilly asked.
“Yeah, I will be,” Trump answered. “I have been working on that for the last 90 days. You know, designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process.”
On Monday, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said, “I don’t think the United States will pursue this path because we’re working together, and I don’t think they would want to open up the possibility of Mexico invoking the same legal principles.”
Designating the Mexican cartels as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) provides that U.S. government with additional tools that it can use to go after the organizations.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs), which is the technical term for the Mexican drug cartels, “remain the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is currently positioned to challenge them. The Sinaloa Cartel maintains the most expansive footprint in the United States, while Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion’s (CJNG) domestic presence has significantly expanded in the past few years. Although 2017 drug-related murders in Mexico surpassed previous levels of violence, U.S.-based Mexican TCO members generally refrain from extending inter-cartel conflicts domestically.”