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

Major cocaine bust doesn’t do Trump’s talking points any favors

When Donald Trump signed an emergency declaration in February, giving himself the authority to redirect funds to the border in defiance of Congress’ wishes, the president justified the move by pointing to the illicit drug trade.

“[W]e have tremendous amounts of drugs flowing into our country, much of it coming from the southern border,” Trump said at the time. “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.”

It’s not a lie. For one thing, the claims aren’t just coming from “politicians”; the statistics come by way of Trump’s own DEA. For another, as regular readers know, incidents like these keep coming to the fore that help prove how wrong the president is.

Federal authorities seized 15,000 kilos of cocaine, worth as much as $1 billion, at a Philadelphia shipping port, officials said Tuesday. A second mate and a crew member have been arrested in the massive bust.

There were 16.5 tons of the drug found in seven shipping containers late Monday night, officials said.

The local U.S. Attorney described the bust, featuring cocaine with a street value of $1 billion, as “one of the largest drug seizures in United States history.”

Clearly, law enforcement and port officials deserve credit for interceptions like these. When the authorities seize more than 16 tons of cocaine, it’s obviously an extraordinary development.

But there’s also a political angle to this – because according to the president, drug smugglers 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 few months 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.