Trump pleased with US efforts to stem illegal drugs from the Caribbean

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Trump pleased with US efforts to stem illegal drugs from the Caribbean

Sunday, July 12, 2020

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MIAMI (CMC) — President Donald J Trump has described as “an incredibly successful” operation the cut to the flow of illegal drugs into the United States from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

The Department of Defense (DOD) said Trump travelled to Miami on Friday for a briefing on the illegal drug situation, and was accompanied by US Defense Secretary Dr Mark T Esper to the US Southern Command headquarters, otherwise known as Southcom.

The “whole-of-government and international operation” against international drug cartels involves 16 US federal agencies and 20 international partners, the DOD said.

“In just 12 weeks, Southcom's surge operation conducted with key regional partners has resulted in more than 1,000 arrests and the interdiction of 120 metric tons,” said Trump.

“I can only tell you, that's a lot of narcotics worth billions and billions of dollars. We're determined to keep dangerous drugs out of the country and away from our children.

“We're securing our seas, we're securing our borders. This is a new operation [that has] not been done before, and this operation has been incredibly successful,” he added.

Esper said the drug cartels have destroyed far too many American lives by smuggling heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and methamphetamines into the United States, leading to drug overdoses and addiction in many communities.

He said the cartels also use the profits from the drug trade to cause disruptions throughout Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

“Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, our enhanced counter-narcotics operations have shown great success in countering those threats by disrupting the flow of illicit drugs, denying our adversaries financial resources, and strengthening the capacity of partner countries in the region,” the DOD secretary said.

He said the DOD increased capabilities in the region at the president's direction, stating that there are now 75 per cent more surveillance aircraft and 65 per cent more ships than usual for drug interdiction in the Eastern Pacific area and the Caribbean.

“We denied nearly two billion US dollars in drug profits, increased our targeting of known smuggling maritime events by 60 per cent, and neutralised dozens of members of transnational criminal organisations,” Esper said.

Navy Admiral Craig S Faller, the commander of the US Southern Command, said intelligence sources report that these cartels are watching the increase and are stockpiling drugs and trying to change their tactics.


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