There is no crime killing more people in this country than fentanyl trafficking – not terrorism, not shootings, not stabbings, not any other form of violence.
There are roughly 16,000 official homicides a year, but 30,000 a year are dying from fentanyl, and likely more from other drugs that are laced with it. They are usually unsuspecting youngsters who think they are getting regular pain pills but are purposely sold chemical warfare as a death sentence. Rather than wringing our hands about the problem and spending billions on wasteful programs, shouldn’t we finally get serious about deterring it?
To that end, Sen. Tom Cotton has introduced a bill to finally treat fentanyl trafficking with the seriousness the crime deserves. The Zero Tolerance for Deceptive Fentanyl Trafficking Act would create a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison for those convicted of dealing fentanyl while misrepresenting it as something else. If the offender has a prior felony conviction or is here illegally, he would get life in prison. And if the dealer intended to kill someone with fentanyl and succeeded, this bill would make that crime eligible for the death penalty, as any other first-degree murder is.
This bill does not target someone who possesses fentanyl or consumes it. This is solely targeting those who engage in mass chemical warfare that is killing more people than any other form of murder.
The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga.
At present, there is very little deterrent against fentanyl traffickers. Virginia Krieger, who lost her daughter to fentanyl in Ohio, told me on my podcast that the two people who sold her daughter Tiffany the fentanyl under the guise that it was a prescription-type painkiller for her back injury got no jail time.
“Once Tiffany was incapacitated, the two women then spent the next six to eight hours going back and forth to two separate ATMs near the home, making withdrawals from Tiffany's bank account using her ATM card and even going back the last time only hours after the coroner had come to the residence and removed my child's lifeless body,” Krieger said on my podcast.
What ultimately happened to the two women who sold Tiffany the drugs?
“In the end, one woman served 28 days in jail for her participation in my daughter's death,” according to Krieger. “The other (much worse) woman and the ringleader was not punished at all and was subsequently present at two other opioid overdose deaths with similar circumstances of theft. She was also revived herself with narcan after an overdose, but charges against her for possession of illegal narcotics were later dismissed. This woman has a very lengthy criminal record involving petty crimes, possession and drug trafficking and remained in the public domain to eventually contribute to my daughter's death.”
Later on, the second woman was sentenced to two years in prison, only because she was convicted on a subsequent robbery. “I went out of my way to travel the one hour to Warren, Ohio, to remind the prosecutor who she was and that given her long list of criminal activity and her participation in Tiffany's death, she should not be given a light sentence again,” Krieger told me.
What about the guy who distributed the drugs to those two women? “The drug dealer has a long criminal history involving drug trafficking and domestic violence, and he continues to traffic drugs with impunity, including illicit fentanyl.”
Trump is 100 correct when he talks about the need for deterrent. “States with a very powerful death penalty on drug dealers don’t have a drug problem,” said Trump earlier this month during a White House event with governors. “I don’t know that our country is ready for that, but if you look throughout the world, the countries with a powerful death penalty — death penalty — with a fair but quick trial, they have very little if any drug problem. That includes China.”
Well, now it’s time to put this into legislation before hundreds of thousands more are killed. Do we want to solve the problem or not?
Remember, this is not primarily about drug addiction. Most people do not intend to consume fentanyl. It’s being laced into other drugs or being packaged and sold as prescription painkillers. We have a drug problem in this country, but what is going on with the fentanyl trafficking is chemical warfare.
At some point, the political elites must be confronted with their hypocritical approach. When it comes to drug treatment, they are spending billions of dollars on dubious programs and clamping down on legitimate prescription painkillers. But when it comes to the worst illicit drug trafficking, they are frantically promoting jailbreak. Which one is it? Do we have a fentanyl crisis or not?
“There was no justice for my family,” lamented the Ohio mom. “We were first victimized by government legislation that denied my daughter the care of her physician, then we were denied justice when she was killed by the very illicit narcotics that were at the heart of the ‘opioid epidemic.’ The very same illicit narcotics that drove panicked legislation that ultimately caused her physician and many, many others to be fearful of treating their patients, thereby driving valid patients out of the doctor’s office and to the street corners, where the dealers and cartel drugs were waiting for them.”
Last March, speaking to a crowd in New Hampshire, which is a hard-hit state, Trump laid down the gauntlet:
You know, it’s an amazing thing. Some of these drug dealers will kill thousands of people during their lifetime — thousands of people — and destroy many more lives than that. But they will kill thousands of people during their lifetime, and they’ll get caught and they’ll get 30 days in jail. Or they’ll go away for a year, or they’ll be fined. And yet, if you kill one person, you get the death penalty or you go to jail for life.
That is the story of Virginia’s daughter and countless thousands of others over the past five years.
Well, Senator Cotton has now laid down that marker with a bill to make the president’s long-standing priority a reality. Who’s in?