Officials at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have been directed by headquarters to stop using the term “Mexican cartel” when speaking with reporters, according to an email exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation from a government official.

A portion of the email sent in mid-July states: “Also, we need to now avoid saying ‘Mexican cartel’ or discussing the Mexican government or law enforcement cooperation with Mexico. Please continue using ‘drug cartel,’ [transnational criminal organizations], [drug trafficking organizations], etc.”

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The Drug Enforcement Administration,, a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Justice, is tasked with enforcing the country’s drug laws. Anne Milgram, who was sworn in June 28 by Attorney General Merrick Garland, heads the agency.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

The guidance came as Mexican cartels continue surging drugs across the southern border and into the U.S. Between October and June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 358,302 pounds of drugs at the border, including 8,093 pounds of lethal fentanyl.

Over the same time period in 2020, Customs and Border Protection seized 541,126 pounds of drugs at the U.S.-Mexico border. And over the nine-month period in 2019, Customs and Border Protection seized 498,281 pounds of drugs. During those months in 2018, it seized 677,179 pounds.

The amount of fentanyl seized at the border has increased steadily throughout the past few years; the amount seized so far in 2021 already has exceeded what was captured in 2019 and 2020 combined.

Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo interviewed a former acting DEA administrator, Timothy Shea, on May 9 about the cartels trafficking drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border. Bartiromo said Shea was supposed to be joined by a DEA official, but that the Justice Department canceled his appearance at the last minute. 

“We actually invited an official from the Drug Enforcement Administration to come on with you,” Bartiromo told Shea. “And we thought we would have a conversation, the three of us. But [President Joe] Biden’s [Department of Justice] squashed it.”

She added: “They did not want the [Drug Enforcement Administration] official to be on to discuss this. So, there is also a media ban on this.”

“Isn’t this information that the public needs to understand, that these wide open borders, it’s not just about illegals coming into this country and sucking up resources and taking—getting in front of the line for those who are trying to do it legally?” Bartiromo asked.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2020 Drug Threat Assessment found that “Mexican cartels are increasingly responsible for producing and supplying fentanyl to the U.S. market” and that “they remain the greatest criminal drug threat in the United States.”

A senior Drug Enforcement Administration official told NPR in May that Mexican agencies have become less transparent with the U.S., making it more difficult to combat the threat of Mexican cartels.

“We’re willing to share [intelligence] with our counterparts in Mexico, but they themselves are too afraid to even engage with us because of repercussions from their own government if they get caught working with DEA,” said Matthew Donahue, the DEA’s deputy chief of operations.

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