Washington—The Senate last night passed the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015 (S. 32), legislation introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to combat transnational drug trafficking.
Under current law, the Department of Justice faces barriers in building extradition cases against foreign drug kingpins, particularly from Colombia and Peru, the leading global producers of cocaine. Kingpins from these countries frequently use Mexican drug trafficking organizations as intermediaries to transport illegal narcotics into the United States.
The bill would fix this problem by providing the department with new legal tools to prosecute foreign drug traffickers. It would also establish penalties for criminals who traffic precursor chemicals for drugs like meth, knowing that the drugs will be imported into the United States.
“International drug traffickers continue to find new ways to circumvent our laws,” said Senator Feinstein, co-chair of the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. “To reduce the flow of drugs into the United States, the federal government needs the legal authority to aggressively pursue transnational criminal organizations and drug kingpins in their home countries. This bill gives law enforcement the authority they need to go after these criminals.”
“Since drug cartels are continually evolving, this legislation ensures that our criminal laws keep pace,” said Senator Grassley, chair of the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. “The bill closes a loophole abused by drug traffickers who intend for drugs to end up in the United States but supply them through an intermediary. The Justice Department needs every legal tool to help crack down on those who ship these substances over the border into our country.”
The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015:
- Ensures that international drug traffickers can be prosecuted when there is “reasonable cause to believe” that drugs will be trafficked into the United States; and
- Imposes penalties on individuals who manufacture or distribute precursor chemicals, including pseudoephedrine, knowing that the chemicals will be used to make drugs or other controlled substances destined for the United States.
Representatives Tom Marino (R-Penn.) and Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.