MacArthur: “We have to get control of the Southern Border” in war on drugs
As illegal drugs continue pouring into the United States, President Donald Trump's plan to build a wall along the southern border may have some support from Shore Congressman Tom MacArthur who serves as Co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Heroin Task Force in Washington.
According to the 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO) from Mexico pose as the most significant drug related threat to the U.S. stemming from their control of critical corridors along the southwest border.
"Mexican TCOs remain the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is currently positioned to challenge them," according to the U.S. DEA.
MacArthur explains that whether the answer is a building a wall or an alternative, something needs to be done to tighten border security and prevent illegal drugs from being smuggled in.
"We have to get control of the southern border whether it's a wall, electronic fencing or more border security...those are details that have to be worked out," said MacArthur. "There's only one way to curtail the flow of drugs across the border and that's to get border control."
It's imperative to allocate the proper funds for border security, he adds, to ensure the job to halt drug activity gets done.
"By controlling lucrative smuggling corridors across the U.S. Southwest Border (SWB), Mexican TCOs are able to introduce multi-ton quantities of illicit
drugs into the United States on a yearly basis," according to the U.S. DEA.
MacArthur who represents New Jersey's 3rd District in Washington has seen the drug war ravage communities in the Garden State and across the nation.
He explains that in 2017 the task force he co-chairs needs to continue working extensively with the way prescription drugs are prescribed among other needs.
"It's getting the court system to realize that not every addict that commits a crime is going to benefit from being locked up," said MacArthur.
He adds that treatment may be a better option for addicts but that the drug king pins of the world need to be put in jail.
The task force will have to work together to determine its long term goals, MacArthur adds, but they do have some short term goals underway.
"We'll continue to work on treatment and make sure that the programs we've authorized and money we've allocated are actually going to help real people," said MacArthur.
The first issue tackled by the task force this year was on synthetic opioids, an issue he says Prosecutor Joe Coronato helped him understand how much of a daily threat it is in Ocean County.