Feinstein, Grassley Introduce Bill to Combat Transnational Organized Crime

WASHINGTON – Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), co-chairs of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, today introduced legislation to combat transnational organized crime. The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2013, which passed the Senate unanimously in 2011 but was not considered in the House of Representatives, provides the Justice Department new tools to prosecute foreign drug traffickers.

            “Drug traffickers are constantly finding new and innovative ways to avoid prosecution, and we cannot allow them to exploit these loopholes.” Senator Feinstein said. “Congress must provide the Department of Justice with all of the tools necessary to prosecute drug kingpins both at home and abroad.”

            “Since drug cartels are continually evolving, this legislation ensures that our criminal laws keep pace.” Senator Grassley said.  “This legislation 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 Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2013:

  • Establishes penalties for drug trafficking activity when individuals have reasonable cause to believe that illegal drugs will be trafficked into the United States.  This provision will help the Justice Department build extradition cases on drug kingpins from the Andean countries of Colombia and Peru who often use Mexican drug trafficking organizations as intermediaries to ship illegal narcotics to the United States.
  • Ensures current penalties apply to chemical producers from other countries (including producers of pseudoephedrine used for methamphetamine) that illegally ship precursor chemicals into the U.S. knowing these chemicals will be used to make illegal drugs. 
  • Provides a technical fix to the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act, which increases penalties for the trafficking of counterfeit drugs, by adding a “knowing” requirement so pharmacists can only be held criminally liable if they knowingly sell counterfeit drugs to a customer.

This bill supports the Obama Administration’s July 2011 Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.           

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).