President Trump announced Wednesday that U.S. military forces are conducting an aggressive “counternarcotics operation” in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean to “combat the flow of illicit drugs into the United States.”
The president and the high-ranking officials accompanying him at the briefing — including Attorney General Bill Barr and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper — said cartels are seeking to take advantage of the coronavirus situation to bring more drugs into the country.
“We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives,” the president stated. “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.”
The “additional support” will double U.S. interdiction capacity in the region and include Air Force surveillance planes and helicopters, 10 Coast Guard cutter ships, Navy destroyers, and other combat ships.
President Trump claimed the government possesses strong evidence of the cartels’ plan to benefit from the coronavirus panic but would not elaborate.
“We came upon some intelligence some time ago that the drug cartels as a result of COVID-19 were gonna try to take advantage of the situation and try to infiltrate additional drugs into our country,” said General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “As we know, 70,000 Americans die on an average annual basis to drugs. That’s unacceptable. We’re at war with COVID-19, we’re at war with terrorists, and we are at war with the drug cartels, as well.”
“This is the United States military. You will not penetrate this country,” Milley further remarked. “You will not get past Jump Street. You are not going to come in here and kill additional Americans.”
Esper said he did not know how long the new operations would continue, but that the president would receive regular briefings form the interagency team.
The defense secretary also contended that the drug trade fuels oppressive governments such as Venezuela’s.
“Furthermore, 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.”
In a news conference last week, Attorney General Barr announced charges by the U.S. Justice Department against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and other top officials, accusing the foreign head of state of leading a drug cartel in partnership with the Columbian paramilitary group FARC.
Calling the drug situation a “national security threat,” Barr asserted the United States would not deal in “half-measures.”
The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a massive spike in the prices of heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamines. Drug enterprises such as the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco “New Generation” are struggling with acquiring the necessary chemicals to synthesize drugs. These chemicals typically come from China, and the supply has been severely affected by the impact of the virus in that country.
“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,” explains Derek Maltz, a former special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Operations Division in New York.
“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.”
China has largely had to shut down production of the precursor chemicals in order to focus on making medical supplies.
There are approximately 5,000 illegal drug laboratories in China making synthetic drugs and chemicals for buyers in Europe and North America, according to Johan Obdola, president of the Canada-based Global Organization for Intelligence (IOSI).
“COVID-19 has generated a huge loss in regarding any illegal drugs, and specifically synthetic drugs, not only to Mexican cartels but to most drug cartels operating worldwide,” Obdola said.
Earlier this week, the DEA released word of the uncovering of a tunnel over 2,000 feet in length through which thousands of pounds of drugs were smuggled from Tijuana to San Diego.
Of the finding, U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said, “If cartels keep spending millions of dollars building tunnels, we will keep finding and filling them. This time, we seized a jaw-dropping $30 million worth of dangerous drugs that aren’t going to reach the streets.”
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.