Hawley Cosponsors Bill Imposing Sanctions on Drug Cartels

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) along with Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) today introduced the Significant Transnational Criminal Organization Designation Act, legislation that would subject certain foreign criminal organizations like drug cartels to sanctions, including immigration, financial, and criminal penalties. The process would be similar to the system used for designating entities as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).

Senator Hawley said, “Violent Mexican cartels have gotten rich by flooding our communities with addictive drugs that are ruining lives and tearing families apart. Unfortunately, the Mexican government has been unwilling or unable to stop these criminals. Enough is enough. This bill will beat back the cartels by freezing their assets, removing them from the country, and sanctioning anyone who helps sustain their criminal enterprises.”

Senator Cotton said, “Criminal organizations and drug cartels like the one responsible for last month’s attack in Mexico ought to be treated just like terrorist groups in the eyes of the U.S. government. This bill would help stop cartel violence by ensuring these groups–and anyone who helps them–face dire consequences for their actions.”


  • The Significant Transnational Criminal Organization Designation Act enables the federal government to impose on the most significant Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) the same sanctions that apply to FTOs including:
    • Barring organization members and their immediate families from admission to the United States.
    • Freezing assets.
    • Seeking civil and criminal penalties against Individuals providing material assistance or resources to the organization.
  • The bill also requires the President to submit a report to Congress with the government’s findings on the November 4, 2019 attack on U.S. citizens in northern Mexico once the investigation is completed, including whether the organization responsible should be designated a Significant TCO.

Click here for the text of the legislation.