President Trump deployed Navy destroyers and Air Force surveillance planes to combat drug cartels that are “taking advantage” of the media-fueled coronavirus panic to smuggle illegal opioids into the United States.
Trump announced the launch of a “counter-narcotics operation” in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea at a White House coronavirus briefing amid the ongoing opioid epidemic.
The President was joined by U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mark Milley.
“We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives,” Trump said. “In cooperation with the 22 partner nations, U.S. Southern Command will increase surveillance, disruption, and seizures of drug shipments and provide additional support for eradication efforts, which are going on right now at a record pace.”
To this end, President Trump deployed Navy destroyers, Air Force surveillance planes and helicopters, and 10 Coast Guard cutter ships to the region.
(Source: White House)
“We came upon some intelligence some time ago that the drug cartels — as a result of COVID-19 — were going to try to take advantage of the situation and try to infiltrate additional drugs into our country,” said General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Milley said the United States is fighting multiple wars on several different fronts to keep Americans safe.
“As we know, 70,000 Americans die on an average annual basis to drugs. That’s unacceptable,” Milley said. “We’re at war with COVID-19. We’re at war with terrorists. And we are at war with the drug cartels as well.”
General Milley said the military can’t let its guard down simply because the coronavirus crisis is afoot.
“This is the United States military. You will not penetrate this country,” Milley said. “You are not going to come in here and kill additional Americans.”
Federal agents assigned to the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, including Border Patrol agents, uncovered a sophisticated drug smuggling tunnel on March 19. Inside, agents seized 4,400lbs of illicit drugs worth over $29M. Learn more: https://t.co/ky7EJH1LnR pic.twitter.com/9fYpEbHKDw
— CBP (@CBP) March 31, 2020
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said: “Every year, tens of thousands of Americans die from drug overdoses, and thousands more suffer the harmful effects of addiction. Corrupt actors — like the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela — rely on the profits derived from the sale of narcotics to maintain their oppressive hold on power.”
OVERNIGHT: #BorderPatrol agents at the Falfurrias Checkpoint interdicted a tractor trailer smuggling more than 130lbs of cocaine valued at nearly $4.2M. Checkpoints remain operational and our agents continue their vital #NationalSecurity mission. pic.twitter.com/so7TN0HGrY
— Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings (@USBPChiefRGV) April 1, 2020
A former agent at the Drug Enforcement Administration said drug cartels are getting desperate because the pandemic has hurt their businesses just like it has crushed global economies.
“The cartels have suffered from COVID-19 due to the inability to get the regular shipments of synthetic opioids and precursor chemicals for the massive production of meth from China,” Derek Maltz told Fox News.
Maltz continued: “The cartels have continued their production at a slower rate. But the demand seems to be increasing during these times of uncertainty in America. The shutdown of cities in China and travel in and out of China have also negatively impacted the flow of chemicals and drugs to Mexico.”
Meanwhile, Democrat lawmakers around the country are releasing scores of criminals from jails, citing COVID-19 concerns.
Moreover, some cities like left-wing Philadelphia said it will not arrest thugs who commit drug crimes, personal theft, retail theft, or home burglaries due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, Philadelphia police will no longer be making arrests for all narcotics offenses, theft from persons, retail theft, theft from auto, burglary, vandalism, bench warrants, stolen autos, economic crimes such as passing bad checks, fraud, & prostitution. pic.twitter.com/R2OZSPMKHO
— Rob O'Donnell (@odonnell_r) March 17, 2020
That’s probably why gun stores were added to the federal list of “essential” businesses that should remain open during the coronavirus shutdowns.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 29, 2020
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