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Tester Leads Bill To Combat Fentanyl Trafficking

In his continued push to secure the southern border and combat illicit fentanyl trafficking into the United States, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has led the bipartisan Combating Cartels on Social Media Act to target cartels’ use of social media and online platforms to recruit smugglers. Tester’s bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

“The fentanyl crisis is a serious issue facing Montana communities,” Tester said. “Targeting the cartels’ recruitment tactics is one of the most effective ways to reduce illicit fentanyl trafficking and make sure these lethal drugs don’t make it across our southern border. This bill will make it harder for bad actors to use online platforms to grow their operations and prey on vulnerable social media users, and I’ll keep working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it passed into law.”

Drug cartels are using social media platforms like Tik-Tok and Instagram to recruit American teenagers to transport migrants and drugs from Mexico, typically recruiting teenagers under the age of 18. This recruitment strategy is commonly used in regions along the southern border.

Tester’s bill aims to reduce cartels’ recruitment via social media by: * Requiring the Department of Homeland Security to study which online platforms with messaging functions are being used for recruitment purposes.

* Implementing the “National Strategy to Combat Illicit Recruitment Activity by Transitional Criminal Organizations on Social Media and Online Platforms,” which must recommend establishing a reporting mechanism, and improve coordination between DHS, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement, and platforms; increase engagement and outreach to American targets, especially those under 18.

* Requiring DHS to create a voluntary process to receive, process, and share information involving cartels use of social media and online platforms for recruitment, and to provide other law enforcement agencies with intelligence to combat cartel activity.

Tester has consistently led the charge to combat fentanyl trafficking in Montana and secure our nation’s borders. Last month, Tester introduced his bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act to declare fentanyl trafficking a national emergency, increase sanctions against Chinese criminal organizations and Mexican drug cartels who traffic fentanyl into the U.S., and combat fentanyl-related money laundering.

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