The former head of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Chicago office, which brought down drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is praising President Donald Trump for his moves to designate Mexican drug and human smuggling cartels as terrorist groups.
“The president is showing real leadership if he can get that done,” Jack Riley said, to Fox News. “There are so many people inside and outside of Congress, the pundits, that will be against it. But this is exactly what is necessary. We have the tools. This would be a game-changer.”
Riley spent years battling against Mexico-based drug cartels. He also led the DEA’s El Paso Field Division, which borders Mexico.
“If Trump can pull this off it would be a home run,” Riley said.
“The cartels really fear this, and it would make a substantial hit. We need to use all of our resources to fight these guys,” he added.
If the cartels are designated terror organizations, it would likely mean additional funding from the State Department and help from U.S. intelligence agencies, Riley said.
It could also spur special operations against the cartels.
“Lastly, it opens up the legal prowess to pursue these organizations,” he said.
Trump said Tuesday he was going to get the terrorism designation done.
“They will be designated . . . I have been working on that for the last 90 days,” Trump said in an interview with conservative media personality Bill O’Reilly that was posted to his website Tuesday.