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Sen. Mitt Romney, others, working to classify drug cartels as terrorist organizations

File photo: Sen. Mitt Romney, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo credit: Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and several colleagues want to go after drug cartels with all the tools in the U.S. government’s arsenal.

That aresenal includes a new bi-partisan bill, written in response to cartels in Northern Mexico that killed several women and children with family ties in Utah.

“We are basically categorizing drug cartels as terrorist organizations, because we already have extensive legislative procedures for dealing with terrorist organizations,” he told KSL Newsradio’s Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson.

“Those procedures relate to financial penalties, the ability to arrest people that are parts of terrorist organizations, the ability to prevent them from coming into the US and so forth,” said Sen. Romney.

Romney said the Significant Transnational Criminal Organization Designation Act would be a big step in giving law enforcement more weaponry to go after such violent groups.

In short, the Act would allow the federal government to treat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) instead.

That switch in designations would subject Mexican cartels to immigration, financial, and criminal penalties. The change would also bar cartel members from entering the United States.

Senator Romney says the legislation also requires the president to submit a full report to Congress regarding the attacks against Americans in Mexico last month and whether the organization responsible for the attacks should be designated as a Significant Transnational Criminal ORganization.

The Americans killed in cartel violence in November had family ties to Utah.

The entire interview with Sen. Romney and KSL Newsradio’s Boyd Matheson is below.  The portion about drug cartels begins at 4:40.