Derek Maltz: Federal Government Must Declare Deadly Drug Cartels Foreign Terrorist Organizations

The crisis at the U.S. Mexico border is fueling both an opioid epidemic that’s killing 130 Americans each day and posing one of the greatest national security threats, according to Former Director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Special Operation’s Division Derek Maltz.

Maltz told Sara Carter that it’s the Mexican drug cartels that are exploiting and perpetuating this crisis on Monday’s episode of “The Sara Carter Show.”

The retired senior law enforcement official, who has worked numerous counternarcotics and terrorism related cases, is extremely familiar with the operations of transnational criminal organizations.

Under his leadership at the DEA, Maltz established the Counter Narco-Terrorism Operations Center that went after groups like Hezbollah for creating lucrative global money laundering enterprises.

“The cartels are not just in America,” Maltz explained, “They’ve completely enhanced their operations around the world.”

He emphasized that this has been the case for years, and that law enforcement has and continues to belabor the point to Congress however, lawmakers still don’t get it. According to Maltz, they see it as too “controversial” for example, officials testified in 1985 on the threat of an existing nexus between terrorist groups and transnational criminal organizations, which Maltz testified on earlier this year. For years the problem has existed and even President Obama acknowledged the issue, yet no one’s touched it.

“We’re not in the 1960s anymore. We’re with a dangerous threat to our country. They’re using state of the art technology, they’re aligning themselves up with these global transnational criminals, they’re making billions of dollars, and we’re vulnerable.”

Further, Maltz explained that our country needs to put American lives first, but under the current system he said, “you just walk over, you come into America, you go into a city, now they want to give free health care, they want to give free college meanwhile, we’ve got homeless everywhere.”

Maltz appeared in Carter’s earlier documentary “Not in Vein”, which covered the Mexican cartels fueling one of the greatest threats to our country, the heroin epidemic. The film calls on the federal government to designate the cartels “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (FTOs).

Last month, Carter testified with Maltz before the Ohio House Criminal Justice committee to push for legislation to do just that. Putting partisanship aside, the committee overwhelmingly voted to pass the law.

The Secretary of State designates Foreign Terrorist Organizations in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The legal criteria for designating a group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization are:
    • It must be a foreign organization.
    • The organization must engage in terrorist activity, as defined in section 212 (a)(3)(B) of the INA (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B)),* or terrorism, as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 (22 U.S.C. § 2656f(d)(2)),** or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism. (check)
    • The organization’s terrorist activity or terrorism must threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States. (Foreign Terrorist Organizations, n.d.)Based on the State Department’s designation the drug cartels fit the bill. Now, it’s up to us to ensure that it happens on a federal level.

The move is a step in the right direction, but its still an uphill battle as many in Washington continue pushing back. “They try to control investigations and they try to take away the responsibilities of other agencies,” said Maltz. DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon opposes the designation for this exact reason because he doesn’t want his agency to participate in information sharing with other agencies even though American lives are stake, according to Maltz.

“The corruption that’s running rampant around, not only Mexico, Central America, all over Africa is helping facilitate these massive transnational criminal organizations, which includes terrorists,” said Maltz.