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Manchin seeks cyber operations to target drug cartels at the border

August 18, 2023

West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin has joined South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds in calling for increased cyber operations at the southern border to combat drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Manchin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, and Rounds, a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, have introduced the bipartisan Countering Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) in Cyberspace Act of 2023.

Manchin said the goal of the proposed legislation is to strengthen security at the southern border and prevent illegal drugs from crossing into the country.

The legislation specifically gives the Department of Defense 60 days to develop a congressionally authorized strategy to conduct cyber operations that combat cross border drug smuggling, human trafficking and weapons trafficking carried out by Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations and drug cartels.

In a prepared statement, Manchin said the Biden administration is to blame for failing to secure the border and stop the flow of fentanyl and other narcotics into America.

“This administration has failed to secure our southern border against the influx of these deadly substances, including fentanyl, and in the last year, more than 109,000 Americans and 1,400 West Virginians died from drug-related overdoses,” Manchin said. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to authorize the Department of Defense to develop and deploy cutting-edge cyber capabilities to prevent illegal drugs from crossing into our country.”

Manchin called the proposed legislation a “commonsense effort to strengthen” border security and combat the drug epidemic.

Rounds also blamed Biden for the open border crisis.

“There is a humanitarian and national security crisis at our southern border,” Rounds added. “Those wishing to do us harm have taken advantage of the Biden administration’s weak policies. As a result, our country has experienced unprecedented levels of smuggling of illegal drugs, human trafficking and weapons trafficking. This legislation would take meaningful steps to do what President Biden is not: strengthening our southern border and protecting our people.”

Manchin and Rounds also sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in May, urging the Department of State to hold the People’s Republic of China accountable for its role in the illegal trafficking of synthetic opioid drugs.

China is the primary source of the precursor chemicals, which are then processed and manufactured into synthetic opioids by Mexican drug cartels and brought into the United States, according to Manchin’s office.

By:  Charles Owens
Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph

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