US President Donald Trump said in a radio interview posted online Tuesday that he planned to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror groups.
The move comes after Trump called for a “war” on the drug cartels in early November when nine women and children from an American Mormon community in northern Mexico were killed in a hail of gunfire.
“Are you going to designate those cartels in Mexico as terror groups and start hitting them with drones?” asked Bill O’Reilly, a conservative media personality in an online interview on “The O’Reilly Update.”
“I don’t want to say what I’m going to do, but they will be designated,” Trump answered.
He added: “I will be designating the cartels… absolutely. I have been working on that for the last 90 days.
“Designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process and we are well into that process.”
Mexican authorities reacted swiftly, with the foreign ministry saying that it has contacted US officials “to understand the content and the reach” of what the US president had said.
Mexico would also seek a high-level meeting with US officials to hear US concerns and present Mexico’s views — which include stemming the flow of weapons bought in the United States and smuggled south of the border, the statement read.