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This paper argues that some cartel violence against civilians constitutes an act of terrorism under Mexican law. However, Mexico avoids this label because it may cost them legitimacy and invite foreign interference. The second point of the paper demonstrates that Mexico maintained the use of military force against cartels despite its constitutional foundation which forbids military policing. Finally, having established the Mexican Drug War as a case of use of military force against a terrorist threat, this paper argues that the Mexican military strategy of targeting cartel leadership has failed due to three main factors.