The U.S. government has announced new sanctions targeting drug traffickers in an effort to widen its efforts to crack down on the fentanyl crisis.
Plans to Combat the Opioid Epidemic
The White House has outlined a fact sheet detailing the administration’s plans to combat the opioid epidemic. It intends to increase sanctions and implement other measures against targets to hamper drug traffickers’ access to the U.S. financial system and prevent illicit financial flows.
The White House said in a statement that “the nature of these drugs, and their ease of access and potency, presents a national security, public safety, and public health threat,” according to a published article in POLITICO.
In addition, Washington will establish a global coalition to combat the illicit synthetic drug trade, according to the statement. The objective is to “develop solutions, drive national actions, and create synergies and leverage among like-minded countries.”
Officials Will Meet to Discuss Fentanyl and Arms Trafficking
The U.S. move comes as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and members of his security cabinet plan to meet with U.S. officials this week about fentanyl and arms trafficking. The U.S. president’s push to counter drug traffickers coincides with numerous lawmakers’ criticisms that his administration has not done enough to stem the tide of drugs flowing from Mexico.
As tensions with Mexico increase, prominent Republicans have called for bombing drug cartels in Mexico to resolve the issue. Former President Donald Trump, who is seeking a second term in the White House, has proposed sending “special forces” and using “cyber warfare” to target cartel leaders.
In addition, Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) introduced a bill authorizing the use of military force to “put us at war with the cartels.” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said he’s open to sending U.S. troops into Mexico to target drug lords – even without Mexico City’s permission. Waltz commented that “we need to start thinking about these groups more like ISIS than we do the mafia.”