Florida Senators Rick Scott (R) and Marco Rubio (R) joined Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton (R), Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty (R) and Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy (R) in an effort to sanction a tobacco company. The Republicans directed a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, calling on the Biden Administration to sanction Tobacco International Holdings (TIH). The Switzerland-registered business has alleged ties to Mexico’s Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG).
The lawmakers call on the Biden Administration to sanction the company, its principals, and its subsidiaries and affiliate companies because of the company’s “publicly reported affiliation” with the cartel.
In the letter, the GOP officials write that “since at least 2018, the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), a cartel sanctioned by the United States for its role in trafficking narcotics and fentanyl, has been involved in the sale of tobacco products to generate a new revenue stream.”
Was joined by colleagues in sending a letter to @SecYellen urging her to sanction Tobacco International Holdings for being tied to Mexico’s Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).
— Senator Marco Rubio (@SenMarcoRubio) May 10, 2023
“Media reports indicate that Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) has opened an investigation into Tobacco International Holdings Switzerland SA (TIH), which is suspected of having ties with CJNG,” the lawmakers add, noting that the report states that “TIH, with the overt assistance of former and current members of Mexican government bodies, and the threat of CJNG reprisal, has monopolized the tobacco market in several Mexican states.”
Tension between Mexico and the U.S. has only increased since Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow military use against the cartel. This effort has angered Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who even argued that he would intervene in upcoming elections to make sure Republicans lost.
The use of the military against Mexican cartels was supported by President Donald Trump (R), and the sponsors of the bill, Florida Rep. Mike Waltz (R) and Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R), are urging support from their House colleagues.