By | Rachel Brooks
Staff | Telegraph Local
Above, Fox News broadcast of Trump coronavirus briefing.
During his recent coronavirus briefing, U.S. President Donald Trump announced an enhanced counternarcotics offensive on Mexican cartels.
The Hill likewise reported that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also stated that the Pentagon would now deploy additional ships, aircraft, and security forces to the U.S. Southern Command. These forces will deploy as part of the counternarcotics operation.
Esper stated the following to reporters, quoted by The Hill as follows,
“At a time when the nation and the Department of Defense are focused on protecting the American people from the spread from the coronavirus, we also remain vigilant to the many other threats the country faces.”
He also stated the following,
“Today, at the president’s direction, the Department of Defense, in close cooperation with our interagency partners, began enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.”
The Hill also quoted the Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Mark Milley as follows,
“We came upon some intelligence some time ago that the drug cartels as a result of COIVD-19 were going to try to take advantage of the situation and try to infiltrate additional drugs into our country. We’re at war with COVID-19, we’re at war with terrorists, and we’re at war with drug cartels as well.”
Likewise, The Hill reported that Attorney General William Barr stated that the counternarcotics operation will “radically improve” U.S. “interdiction” to putting the pressure on drug cartels.
Fox News quoted President Trump’s comments on the counternarcotics operation as follows,
“We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives. 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.”
Fox reported that the Joint Chiefs of Staff Milley had stated that the United States obtained intelligence. The intelligence suggested that the cartels were going to take advantage of the coronavirus outbreak. Fox News quoted Joint Chiefs of Staff Mielly as follows,
“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. 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.”
The declaration of a renewed counternarcotics effort comes five days after the U.S. charged Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro with drug trafficking, The Wall Street Journal reported. The counternarcotics measure will put a heavy strain on Central-to-South American drug cartel supply chains, likely heavily affecting Maduro. The operation appears to focus on the Sinaloa Cartel, citing Fox News.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported within the last 24 hours that gangs continue to ravage Mexican towns despite the declaration of counternarcotics and COVID-19. Reuters stated that Apaseo El Alto, Mexico is the site of the shooting and slaying of a mayor candidate. His widow, Maria del Carmen Ortiz, has now taken his place in the candidacy. She rallies the town around her as she seeks answers in her husband’s murder. She has become a symbol of the residential thirst for justice.