On Friday, July 10, President Donald Trump traveled to Florida to meet with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who briefed him on the anti-narcotics campaign.

President Trump visited the Southern Command in Florida, where he met with the U.S. Secretary of Defense to receive information about operations against drug cartels. Work is being done in cooperation with 16 federal agencies and 22 international partners.

“As governments and nations focus on the coronavirus, there’s a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists, and other malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain. And we must not let that happen.” Those were President Trump’s words after his meeting with Southern Command officials. 

 Earlier this year, President Trump made a special plea to his administration to redouble efforts in counternarcotics operations, especially in the countries of  the Western Hemisphere. To carry out these operations, he approved the deployment of additional ships, aircraft, and security forces to assist in the mission. 

As reported by the White House, the work is being done in cooperation with 22 other nations committed to fighting drug trafficking around the world. Military deployments in the Caribbean and the Pacific resulted in a 75% increase in surveillance aircraft and a 65% increase in ships over previous years. 

The efforts appear not to have been in vain when we consider that since the new policies were launched, more than 120 metric tons of narcotics have been seized, amounting to billions of dollars, and more than 1,000 arrests have been made. 

Based on official numbers, which lament 70,000 deaths per year from drug overdoses in the United States, the Trump administration has always had the drug war on its agenda. 

These are some of the actions reported by the White House in this regard:

Construction of a border fence on the southern edge of the country, with the aim of reducing the historic illegal entry of drugs and trafficking in people and weapons.

Commitment to the Chinese regime and Mexico to reduce supplies of heroin, fentanyl and other illicit opioids. 

Concrete actions against the sale of deadly drugs through the Internet, including the closure of the country’s largest drug distributor Darknet.

In addition to seeking to reduce supplies of opioids, the Trump administration is leading efforts to prevent drug abuse and increase treatment and recovery services. 

Navy Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, said intelligence sources say these cartels are watching increased military activity and control in trafficking areas and are stockpiling drugs and trying to change their tactics.

President Trump was also told that the involvement of international partners is key. Intelligence and information sharing, joint training, and improved national capabilities make the forces of international partners worthwhile.