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Robert W. Patterson, acting administrator of the DEA, during his visit to Mexico. Photo: Araceli López. Source: milenio.com
Robert W. Patterson, acting administrator of the DEA, during his visit to Mexico. Photo: Araceli López. Source: milenio.com

The DEA denies that Trump’s wall would be a solution for drug trafficking

The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Robert W. Patterson, said that other types of strategies are necessary.

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"We are going to build the wall," Trump said throughout his presidential campaign, "and Mexico will pay for it."

The constant argument of the then-candidate and now president, has been that a border wall with Mexico would actually stop the flow of drugs while reducing the force of gangs, drug trafficking and even the opioid national crisis that has claimed 65,000 lives only during 2016.

His obsession is so strong that he has placed his desired wall in the middle of negotiations for government financing and for any decision that includes giving in to the demands of the Democratic Party in general.

But for Robert W. Patterson, acting administrator of the Anti-Drug Agency (DEA), Trump's positioning on the wall is not the solution.

"This is not an easy thing to fix. If there were two or three answers to solve this problem, then I should be fired. There are thousands of things that need to be addressed," said the official with more than 30 years of experience in a press conference during his visit to Mexico City.

Attorney General Jeff B. Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein named Patterson interim administrator last October for being “the highest-ranking Special Agent in the DEA,” according to Sessions himself.

In front of the media, Patterson explained that "when two countries like Mexico and the United States share information to dismantle criminal organizations, they must do so 'one hundred percent and reciprocally’, so that it moves in both directions,” as Mundo Hispánico reported (in Spanish).

The administrator said that an important factor of the problem "has to do with the broad American demand" and the corruption that affects both Mexico and other countries in the area.

"Those people are as responsible as those who move a load of cocaine from point A to point B," he said. "(...) In fact, I will go a step further and say that people in public positions of trust, who violate this, are much worse than the offenders themselves because the citizens of our countries should be able to trust the system."

However, for President Trump, the border has been the link of neglect of previous governments, and his rhetoric has tried to convince the less informed of its urgency and its effectiveness in curbing the flow of drugs to the United States, one of the countries with greater demand for opioids and cocaine in the region.

Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly stated this during their visit to Mexico in May 2017. "We Americans must own this problem," Tillerson told reporters. "There is no other market, it is only us".

In a country where the president prefers to blame foreigners for internal problems - instead of supporting health programs that could help the treatment and recovery of their population at risk - neither a wall nor massive deportations will prevent the population from being victimized of bad administration.

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