U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, has appointed Third District U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Missouri, to a new Republican-only task force focusing on drug cartels at the Mexican border. Luetkemeyer told Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly that the task force’s purpose is to attempt to reduce fentanyl deaths in this country.

“The cartels down there develop the drug and then get it into the country and then they launder the money back through China,” Luetkemeyer said. “It’s a rather insidious situation that they got there, but (I’m) honored to be able to serve on the committee. It’ll be another interesting topic to be delving into.”

In 2018, the CIA estimated drug cartels controlled up to 20 percent of Mexico’s territory. Luetkemeyer cites former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau, who estimated that as of two years ago, cartels controlled about 40 percent of Mexico.

“Fentanyl and drug business in Mexico is not (a) $100 million business. It’s 100 BILLION, with a ‘B,’ $100 billion business,” Luetkemeyer said. “You can see that these cartels have got plenty of money to throw around to bribe the local officials, to hire armies of people to be able to protect them (and) their drug trafficking to make this all work.”

Luetkemeyer said this will be a fact-finding committee.

“(It will go) out and, you know, uncover what’s going on, lay out the facts – maybe work up some legislation that we can hand to a committee to take action on that, then can curtail some of this or minimize it or work with somebody to get this under control,” he said.

The National Institutes for Health estimated more than 70,000 Americans died from fentanyl overdoses in 2021. The task force will be led by U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas.

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