Senators Perdue, Cotton Introduce Bill Imposing Sanctions On Drug Cartels

“Cartels must face severe consequences for the terror they inflict in the United States and across the world.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) are taking action to impose severe consequences on drug cartels. The senators’ Significant Transnational Criminal Organization Designation Act would subject certain foreign criminal organizations, like drug cartels, to the same level of sanctions as terrorist groups.

“Cartels are the worst of humanity,” said Senator Perdue. “As we saw in last month’s horrific attack in Mexico, they terrorize innocent families and exploit children in order to fuel the drug trade and other illicit activity. These criminal organizations must face severe consequences for the terror they inflict in the United States and across the world. This bill is an important first step toward putting cartels out of business once and for all.”

“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,” said Senator Cotton. “This bill would help stop cartel violence by ensuring these groups – and anyone who helps them – face dire consequences for their actions.”

The bill allows the federal government to impose immigration, financial, and criminal penalties on the most significant Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs), including:

  • Barring organization members and their immediate families from admission to the United States;
  • Freezing the organization’s assets; and
  • Levying civil and criminal penalties against individuals who assist 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, including a recommendation on whether the organization responsible should be designated as a significant TCO.

In addition to Senators Perdue and Cotton, the bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Ben Sasse (R-NE).

View text of the bill here.


When Senator Perdue was elected, he was the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress. He is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.