The cartels are collectively Mexico’s fifth largest employer, according to a recent study, and some Republican presidential candidates are ready to take them out with military force.
A mathematical model of the recruitments and losses of criminal organizations revealed that Mexican cartels collectively employ about 175,000 people, according to a study was published in the journal Science. Groups blamed for fentanyl flood in U.S. More than 200,000 Americans have overdosed and died from synthetic opioids like fentanyl since 2020, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Governor Ron DeSantis “is fully committed to sending U.S. special forces to Mexico to fight drug cartels, deploying the U.S. military to stop the invasion, and authorizing lethal force against cartel drug smugglers who invade our country “, a spokesman for the Florida Republican. the presidential campaign told Fox News.
DeSantis, the only candidate who has served in the military, has also advocated the use of drone strikes against organized crime groups. Other candidates, including former President Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, have similarly said that, if elected to the Oval Office, they would also deploy US special forces to fight cartels.
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Trump said he would “do maximum damage” to cartel operations, he told Fox News in June, adding that he would seek the death penalty for convicted drug dealers and human traffickers.
A spokesman for Haley’s presidential campaign made a comment that echoed earlier comments by the candidate accusing China and cartels of working together to smuggle fentanyl into the US
“Treat these cartels for the terrorists they are,” Haley said at a town hall in May. “We send in our special operations units and take them out just like we took out al Qaeda and you stop all that construction going on over there on the Mexican side.”
The two most feared criminal organizations in Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel, have 26,000 and nearly 19,000 members, respectively, according to US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) chief Anne Milgram. These cartels, he said, are “responsible for the flood of fentanyl into our communities.”
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“The Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels are the greatest criminal narcotics threat the United States has ever faced,” the DEA administrator told the House Judiciary Committee in July. “These ruthless, violent, criminal organizations have associates, facilitators and brokers in all 50 states of the United States, as well as in more than 100 countries around the world.”
The new research puts the cartel issue into perspective, Rafael Prieto-Curiel, the study’s lead author, he told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s very important to understand the magnitude of the problem,” he said.
Cartels across Mexico recruit 350 to 370 people a week to replace members who die or are imprisoned, the investigation found.
But GOP candidates aren’t alone in wanting to take military action against the cartels.
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About half of Americans support sending military forces to Mexico to fight drug cartels, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll. Another 26% opposed the idea and the rest were unsure.
Ovidio Guzman Lopez, a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel and son of jailed kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was arraigned Monday in Chicago on federal drug charges. He was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana to the US from Mexico and elsewhere.
Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.