The Mexican cartels are exploiting a widespread opioid epidemic that’s killing nearly 130 Americans each day and Ohio, like other states, is at the epicenter of their deadly supply of narcotics.
The state is taking steps to fight back.
The point was stressed during a hearing last week with the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee, which is considering the passage of concurrent House Resolution Bill 10 to urge the federal government to designate several of the Mexican drug cartels Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Currently, the drug cartels are classified as transnational criminal organizations. It would still have to seek passage of the full Ohio House legislature.
House Resolution 10:
RESOLVED, That we, the members of the 133rd General Assembly of the State of Ohio, respectfully urge the federal government to designate the drug cartels operating from Mexico as foreign terrorist organizations, so that the government may use appropriate means to mitigate and eventually eliminate the operations of the cartels;
In Ohio and across the country families and communities have been ripped apart, while the major Mexican drug cartels like Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generacion have been amassing billions of dollars off of the death and addiction of Americans.
“The Mexican drug cartels don’t fly planes into buildings, but they aggressively ship poison into our communities, ” Heidi Riggs explained to the Ohio House Criminal Justice committee last week. Riggs, a mother who lost her daughter Marin to Heroin addiction is now an advocate fighting the epidemic. Tragically, Marin died just two weeks after her twentieth birthday from a heroin overdose. Marin fought long and hard to beat her addiction, but the drug took ultimate control and claimed her life as collateral damage of a greater problem.
Riggs testified alongside investigative reporter Sara A. Carter and former Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Derek Maltz, who has spent his career battling the cartels and terrorist organizations.
Maltz passionately delivered his message to the committee.
“Bottom line is the state of Ohio is inundated with crime, drugs, violence fueled by the Mexican drug cartels,” he said.
“The cartels are taking advantage of these people that are addicted. If you want to declare a group a terrorist organization just look at the State Department’s website: they must be a foreign organization. Check. The organization must engage in terrorism. Check. The organization, or terrorist activity, must threaten the U.S. security or national security. Check. Long overdue designation in Washington but they’re asleep.”
The trio’s paths crossed last year during the production of the documentary Not In Vein,which focuses both on addiction and narcotics trafficking across the border. They are hoping to push for real change. The film was produced by Carter’s nonprofit The Dark Wire Investigation Foundation and in conjunction with Full Story Foundation, based in Ohio.
Their latest ask is for the state of Ohio to designate the Mexican cartels Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) in the hopes of setting precedent on the national level.
“I call it a terrorist action.”
Ohio is an important starting point. In 2017 alone, the midwestern state ranked second for the number of opioid related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. “This state has been known as ground zero for the heroin and opioid epidemic. The DEA identified Dayton and Columbus as major cartel distribution points,” Carter testified Thursday.
Carter said the Mexican cartels view states like Ohio, Georgia, or Virginia “as a potential marketing place to gain more and more addicts, infiltrate the school systems, make their money and bring it back to Mexico, and continue to perpetuate this horrific epidemic,” she continued, “and I call it a terrorist action.”
According to the DEA, it’s the perfect marketplace seeing an unprecedented increase in demand between 2013 and 2015. The Mexican cartels met that demand by ramping up their heroin production by 169 percent. In “Not in Vein”, a documentary produced by Sara A. Carter, Chris Farrell, Director of investigations and research at government watchdog group Judicial Watch, put it simply, the cartels operate exactly like Walmart. “Walmart never runs out of milk, the cartel never runs out of drugs,” said Farrell.
The Search for the Next Dose
In many cases, pharmaceutical companies have patients hooked. After all, Purdue Pharma was charged with “misbranding” the highly addictive narcotic drug OxyContin as a ‘miracle drug’ claiming ‘little risk of addiction or abuse.’ But, even in this case, once patients exhaust prescriptions, they do anything and everything for their next dose. It’s typically illicit street pills or heroin that’s the next readily available and cheapest option. And it’s the greatest source of euphoria, according to addicts who spoke with SaraACarter.com.
Ashley Evans is a survivor of heroin addiction. It was a drug that took control of her life and she called it “the devil.” Evans’ story is featured in “Not in Vein”, which was released last year. Evans told Carter that her addiction led her to using heroin while pregnant with her daughter Olivia. Miraculously, Olivia was born a healthy baby and is now in her mother’s care following several months of separation while Ashley was in treatment.
This satanic drug is being brought into our country by the Mexican drug cartels. They are growing it in large quantities in Mexican fields and trafficking it across our southern border. To meet the demand for more drugs that are stronger, the cartels are mixing drugs like heroin and methamphetamine with fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid. The cartels are conducting these operations beyond the western hemisphere obtaining fentanyl from China.
Call The Cartels By Their Name
Last year, in an interview with Hill.TV, DEA acting director Uttam Dhillon called the Mexican cartels “the biggest criminal threat the United States faces today.” Now, the Mexican cartels are classified as “Foreign Transnational Criminal Organizations”, and as Chris Farrell stated in “Not in Vein”, the designation “just isn’t cutting it.” “You give the Mexican government a choice, they can cooperate and get on board and help us to fight them as what they are: terrorist organizations, or we can do it ourselves,” Farrell explained.
The legal criteria is cut and dry. According to U.S. Department of State, the organization must be foreign, it must ‘engage in terrorist activity,’ and it must pose a threat to our national security. Derek Maltz said exactly this in his testimony Thursday. “It’s long overdue for this designation in Washington, but they’re asleep, they’re not getting it done, and people are dying,” said Maltz.
It’s time to call the cartels by their true name terrorist organizations and allocate the necessary resources at the federal and state levels to obliterate their operations.