Crenshaw, Waltz Introduce Bill to Authorize Use of Military Force Against Drug Cartels: ‘Time to Go on Offense’

( — On Jan. 12, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) and Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) introduced legislation that would create the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to target drug cartels involved in “facilitating the fentanyl crisis at America’s southern border.”

In a press release, Crenshaw and Waltz announced the introduction of their House Joint Resolution “to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for trafficking fentanyl or a fentanyl-related substance into the United States or carrying out other related activities that cause regional destabilization in the Western Hemisphere.”

“We cannot allow heavily armed and dangerous cartels to destabilize Mexico and import people and drugs into the United States. We must start treating them like ISIS — because that is who they are,” said Crenshaw.

As Rep. Waltz explained, the ongoing crisis at the Southern border has become “untenable” for law enforcement, which he mainly attributed to the actions of the “well-financed Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels.” 

“Not only are these paramilitary transnational criminal organizations responsible for killing an unprecedented number of Americans, but they are actively undermining our sovereignty by destabilizing our border and waging war against U.S. law enforcement and the Mexican military,” added Waltz, who said, “it’s time to go on offense.” 


“The U.S. was successful in assisting the Colombian government dismantle cartels in the 1990s and must do the same now,” said Waltz. 

The AUMF would grant the president the authority to use military force against the drug cartels based on their drug trafficking and use of force against U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials and militaries. Furthermore, the AUMF specifically names the two biggest cartels currently operating in Mexico: the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

According to the text of the bill, the president may use force against foreign actors, countries, or organizations that the president determines to have participated in a number of illegal actions against the United States outlined in Section 2: “Authorization for Use of United States Armed Forces.” 

The legislation lists the following nine cartels to have participated in these actions that warrant U.S. military action as directed by the president:

            – The Sinaloa Cartel;

            – The Jalisco New Generation Cartel;

            – The Gulf Cartel;

            – The Los Zetas Cartel;         

            – The Northeast Cartel;

            – The Tijuana Cartel;

            – The Beltran-Levya Cartel;

            – The La Familia Michocana (AKA ‘Knight Templar Cartel’).

The bill prohibits the military from being applied to foreigners located outside of U.S. territory. This provision is included in the bill “to ensure the civil liberties of U.S. citizens are protected.”

Furthermore, included in the AUMF is a call for its own termination after five years of the enactment of the joint resolution.

According to the release, this sunset clause is included “to ensure the war against cartels does not become an endless war.”

In 2021, for the first time in U.S. history, there were more than 100,000 overdose deaths within the span of a one-year period. More than 75,000 of those deaths reportedly were due to fentanyl.


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