Lawmaker wants Legislature to brand drug cartels as terrorist groups
Rep. Cord Byrd wants drug cartels to be regarded as terror groups.

image003 (Large)
The memorial bill would call on the Feds to designate cartels as terror groups.

A Republican member of the state House is ready to “take the gloves off and act” when it comes to fighting foreign narco-terrorist groups.

Rep. Cord Byrd filed a memorial Tuesday, urging the federal government to designate drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.

Byrd, a second-term Republican from Jacksonville Beach, was unsparing in describing the havoc wreaked by these groups.

“Drug cartels are directly responsible for, not only the drugs pouring across our southern border, but also for human trafficking, sex trafficking, corruption, murder, and gang activity in the United States. The federal government has the tools to directly interdict these threats,” Byrd claimed.

“Designation of the cartels as FTOs would provide greater flexibility and authorizations for direct action against these thugs. It is time we take the gloves off and act — for the sake of our children and peace-loving people everywhere,” Byrd added.

Federal criteria for foreign terrorist organizations include being “foreign,” demonstrating the “capability and intent” for terrorism, and moving to “threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests of the United States.”

Such a designation would bar Americans offering “material support” to such groups and would also allow members of the groups to be blocked at the border. Additionally, financial transactions could be frozen if the feds acted as Byrd wants.

Byrd, mentioned by some as a potential successor to U.S. Rep. John Rutherford in Florida’s 4th Congressional District, has moved on red meat legislation as recently as last Session.

The Northeast Florida Republican successfully shepherded the House efforts to ban so-called “sanctuary cities” in Florida, a preemptive prohibition given a lack of any such jurisdictions in Florida.

The Florida Legislature has not been averse to weighing in on terrorism. A 2016 bill addressed “agroterrorism,” including the role of FTOs in that endeavor.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at


  • John Kociuba

    November 19, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Dear Citizens ~

    Re: Narco State Mexico

    The United States had to invade Mexico 3 times in our history because of their aggression! Yes. All you morons who love “legal Immigration” are not aware 70% vote COMMUNIST DEMORATS!

    Republican weakness in National GOP/RNC is why American tax payers paid out over 200 billion in 2019 alone on Illegal Immigration! Indeed this is more than Homeland Insecurity, TSA, DEA, FBI, COMBINED!

    Aforementioned, we should be dropping GBU-43BS all across Mexico in retaliation for the millions of American Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters murdered by CHEMICAL WARFARE (DRUGS). “The Specter of Communism.”

  • Edward Freeman

    November 19, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    Notwithstanding the entertaining comment above (a mind really is a terrible thing to waste), Rep Byrd’s proposal is laughable on its face. No country in human history has successfully addressed any substance abuse problem through law enforcement and militarization. The United States has been steadily ramping up this tactic for the past 60 years and our drug abuse problems have only grown worse. The United States now counts more deaths from drug overdoses than from firearms and auto accidents combined. Clearly the billions of dollars squandered annually on law enforcement has been a catastrophic failure. Drug abuse can only effective be addressed as what it actually is, a public health issue. We have an excellent model to follow from our ally Portugal. Years ago Portugal decriminalized the possession and consumption of all drugs and began addressing abuse as a public health concern. Numerous studies have highlighted their spectacular results. Removing the prohibitions diminishes their resulting negative effects; including organized crime, public corruption, violence, black markets, mass incarceration and the destruction of countless families and communities while increasing personal freedom and safety. It is the only strategy that has ever worked.

  • The Real Jim Davis

    November 20, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Great idea. This should’ve happened years ago.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704