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Sen. Sinema continues fight against fentanyl trafficking, enabling cartels on social media

'Combating Cartels on Social Media' and 'FEND Off Fentanyl' acts
Congress Infrastructure
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 31, 2023

WAHINGTON (KGUN) — Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I) is continuing her fight against fentanyl trafficking and enabling cartels on social media.

This is evident in her involvement with two bills: Combating Cartels on Social Media Act of 2023 and FEND Off Fentanyl Act.

The former would make government officials report and develop a strategy against transnational criminal organizations who use social media to arrange drug trafficking in or around the U.S.

Sen. Sinema is sponsoring the Combating Cartels on Social Media Act of 2023, along with Senators James (R-OK), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Thomas Tillis (R-NC) cosponsoring.

(1) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES.—The term “appropriate congressional committees” means—
  • (A) the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate; and
  • (B) the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives.
(2) COVERED OPERATOR.—The term “covered operator” means the operator, developer, or publisher of a covered service.

(3) COVERED SERVICE.—The term “covered service” means—
  • (A) a social media platform;
  • (B) a mobile or desktop service with direct or group messaging capabilities, but not including text messaging services without other substantial social functionalities or electronic mail services, that the Secretary determines is, has been, or will be used by transnational criminal organizations in connection with matters described in section 3; and
  • (C) a digital platform, or an electronic application utilizing the digital platform, involving real-time interactive communication between multiple individuals, including multi-player gaming services and immersive technology platforms or applications, that the Secretary determines is, has been, or will be used by transnational criminal organizations in connection with matters described in section 3.
(4) DEPARTMENT.—The term “Department” means the Department of Homeland Security.

(5) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Homeland Security.

“I’m committed to keeping Arizona communities safe and secure by stopping dangerous cartels from smuggling drugs across the border. Our bipartisan bills crack down on the flow of fentanyl, help stop human smuggling, and give Arizona families peace of mind. Once they’re signed into law, they’ll make Arizona – and America – a safer, healthier place to call home,” shared Sen. Sinema.

The latter would further define trafficking of illicit fentanyl and criminal organizations.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) sponsored the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, along with 66 other cosponsors, including Sen. Sinema.

(4) TRAFFICKING.—The term “trafficking”, with respect to fentanyl, fentanyl precursors, or other related opioids, has the meaning given the term “opioid trafficking” in section 7203 of the Fentanyl Sanctions Act (21 U.S.C. 2302).
(5) TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION.—The term “transnational criminal organization” includes—
  • (A) any organization designated as a significant transnational criminal organization under part 590 of title 31, Code of Federal Regulations;
  • (B) any of the organizations known as—
    • (i) the Sinaloa Cartel;
    • (ii) the Jalisco New Generation Cartel;
    • (iii) the Gulf Cartel;
    • (iv) the Los Zetas Cartel;
    • (v) the Juarez Cartel;
    • (vi) the Tijuana Cartel;
    • (vii) the Beltran-Leyva Cartel; or
    • (viii) La Familia Michoacana; or
  • (C) any other organization that the President determines is a transnational criminal organization; or
  • (D) any successor organization to an organization described in subparagraph (B) or as otherwise determined by the President.

“I have heard from our sheriffs, Border Patrol agents, and community leaders about how cartel drug trafficking operations harm communities every day,” Sen. Kelly said. “The federal government must have a vigorous response to stop these criminals and keep dangerous drugs, like fentanyl, from poisoning Arizonans. These bills will go after the cartels and their recruitment of smugglers to make Arizona communities safer.”

Together, Senators Sinema and Kelly are aiming to make a difference in the state they represent, which was recently linked to over half of the fentanyl trafficked into America.

RELATED: Arizona’s fentanyl makes up over half of the fentanyl seizures in the U.S.

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Caleb Fernández is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. After earning his bachelor's degree from Penn State in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went to New York where he learned production assistance, photography and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb by emailing caleb.fernandez@kgun9.com or by connecting on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.