At coronavirus briefing, Trump announces enhanced counter-narcotics operations
The Department of Defense has launched “enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the western hemisphere” to combat the flow of illicit drugs into the United States, announced President Trump in his daily press briefing Wednesday evening.
“As nations around the world shift their focus inward to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, many criminal organizations are attempting to capitalize on this crisis,” said Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper.
The U.S. Southern Command will increase surveillance, disruption and seizure of drug shipments, and provide extended support for eradication efforts, the president reported.
“This is the United States military. You will not penetrate this country. You will not get past jump street. You will not kill additional Americans,” said General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The U.S. will double its capabilities in the southern region through the additional deployment of ships, aircraft and security forces to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. Twenty-two partner nations have joined the U.S. in its efforts.
“As we know, 70,000 Americans die on an average annual basis to drugs. That’s unacceptable,” said General Milley. “We are at war with COVID-19, we are at war with terrorists, and we are at war with drug cartels as well.”
Secretary Esper reported that after scrutinizing inventory, there is no risk to the fleet or operations to free resources in order to support these counter-narcotic operations.
PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon