Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents take inventory of seized cocaine packages, on the deck of the US Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, Oct. 6, 2014.
Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

Cocaine bust makes White House talking points look a little worse


About a month ago, while announcing his emergency declaration for the southern border, Donald Trump focused his attention on the illicit drug trade. “[W]e have tremendous amounts of drugs flowing into our country, much of it coming from the southern border,” the president said. “When you look and when you listen to politicians – in particular, certain Democrats – they say it all comes through the port of entry. It’s wrong. It’s wrong. It’s just a lie. It’s all a lie.”

He was badly confused. For one thing, the claims aren’t just coming from “politicians”; the statistics come by way of Trump’s own DEA. For another, new incidents like these keep coming to the fore that help prove how wrong the president is.

Authorities have seized the biggest shipment of cocaine recovered at the ports of New York and New Jersey in almost 25 years.

The massive bust Feb. 28 at the Port of New York/Newark in Elizabeth came after authorities checked a shipping container entering the country. They found 60 packages containing 3,200 pounds of a white powdery substance that proved to be cocaine, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement Monday.

The seizure, which has an estimated street value of $77 million, is the biggest cocaine bust at the ports since 1994 when about 6,600 pounds were seized, according to a CBP spokesman.

The container was recovered from a ship that originated in South America, the spokesman said.

If Trump were right, busts like these wouldn’t happen. According to the president, who has no use for his own administration’s evidence, drug smugglers, moving drugs from South America, avoid ports of entry like these.

The argument might be more believable if reality didn’t keep getting in the way.

Indeed, as we discussed a month ago, if Trump doesn’t want to believe the Drug Enforcement Administration, he could check out press releases from Customs and Border Patrol officials, which say the same thing.

Alternatively, the president could watch news coverage of the recent trial for Joaquín Guzman (“El Chapo”), which featured ample discussion about his criminal operation smuggling drugs through ports of entry.

And yet, Americans keep hearing from their president that they should look past all of this, and instead accept his baseless assertions as fact. It’s bizarre.