Two weeks ago, members of a Mexican drug gang or cartel murdered three women and six children en route to a wedding.

All nine victims were American citizens.

Many believe it was a warning and clear message to the Mexican government to keep their hands off the drug cartels.

Mexican officials first told news agencies that it may have been a mistake, an error that resulted in the murders of nine American citizens.

U.S. President Donald Trump offered the Mexican government assistance in bringing the killers to justice but his offer was turned down by Mexican President Manuel Obrador.

After being elected, Obrador did admit that Mexico’s war on drugs had been a failure and he hoped to begin a peace process between the cartels, gang members and the Mexican public.

To say it has been a failure is a big, big understatement.

In 2018, 36,000 homicides were reported in Mexico. This year the country is experiencing nearly 100 murders a day.

Favorite targets are Mexican police officers and their families, as well as anyone else who crosses a cartel or accidentally stumbles onto a drug operation.

The drug cartels are hands off, set their own agendas and take any action necessary to protect their markets and distribution routes. And it’s getting worse each year.

America is part of the problem.

A Council on Foreign Relations report points out that the American market for illegal drugs is the primary cause for such a flourishing illicit trade.

Illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing.

In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans, aged 12 or older, had used an illicit drug in the past month. This number continues to rise.

The report stated that Americans put almost $150 billion on the table in 2016 purchasing illegal drugs that included cocaine, meth, marijuana and various different synthetic opioids. The demand is rising.

Law enforcement agencies are aware that most of the illegal drug traffic crosses the border on foot, in tunnels, boats and aircraft. Unfortunately, a lot of the sales receipts are used to bribe law enforcement officers in both countries.

It is easy to understand how the bribery works. An officer is told that he or she either takes the bribe to protect the distributors or they and their families will be killed. Pretty simple operation. It’s been enforced enough times, for those accepting the bribes to understand it’s a one-way street. You play or you die.

In a recent article the Wall Street Journal, talking about supply and demand said, “ Now elite and entertainment culture sends a message that drug use is a victim-less habit, even glamorous. There’s more social stigma in the U.S. against cigarettes than against cocaine or marijuana.”

While the United States might not be able to stop the trade altogether, it could make life tough for the cartels if Washington, and the courts, really wanted to stop the illegal activity.

We have the capability in our military to protect our borders using personnel, weapons and other equipment.

The drug cartels are taking advantage of Americans and destroying our society. They should be seen as we see ISIS, an intruder with intentions of destroying our country and harming American citizens. Once cartel members cross the border into American territory, they should be treated as enemy combatants, especially those that are armed and carrying weapons.

Drug enforcement agencies should not have to be fighting losing battles.

Our technology and military forces are superior to what the cartels can put on the table.

American citizens living along the border, and across our country, have a right to expect our government to protect our homeland and our citizens.

Taxpayers are paying the estimated cost of drug abuse in the United States to the tune of more than $820 billion a year and it continues to grow. Substance abuse in the U.S. affects the costs to society in increased healthcare costs, crime and lost productivity.

The cartels also provide an avenue into the country for terrorists and illegal aliens.

It’s time for Washington to step up and utilize our military to protect our borders and our citizens.

Jimmy Terrell is retired from a career in law enforcement and is a Winder city councilman. He can be reached at ejterrell65@gmail.com.

(1) comment

Virginia Moss

For once I can agree with Mr. Terrell. Ultimately, a cure for addiction would go a long way to curb America's desire/need for illicit drugs as well as for legal ones. Putting drug users in prison is never the answer; they need medical care and counseling instead, which is cheaper. Doing drugs must be made to be culturally unacceptable. The tobacco effort is an example if not a 100% success. Smoking is now seen as low class instead of the ultra-high class activity promoted by the tobacco industry back in the mid-twentieth century. With enough interest (money) we can do this with other drugs. Look at how Big Alcohol promotes itself, insinuating itself into every crack and corner of our society. And it's the most destructive of property, wealth and lives (both innocent and guilty) of all the drugs.

Making drugs illegal is no help. It simply pushes it underground where the cartels, mobs and gangs prosper like weeds in an untended garden. Our experiment with prohibition in the 1920s demonstrated this failure. As to declaring drug dealers and runners as terrorists and using our military to defeat them, it's highly appealing. Just as threatening to our American way of life is the insidious cyber strategies via social media happening now that undermine truth and reality to create division and chaos. We are being attached all around and many don't even know it.

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