Trump says US will increase counter-narcotics efforts in East Pacific, Caribbean

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for the daily coronavirus response briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that the United States will deploy Navy ships in the Caribbean and East Pacific to prevent drug cartels for taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and smuggling more narcotics.

Trump, joined by Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley at a White House briefing, said the move is needed because there is a “growing threat” that cartels and criminals will try to take advantage of the pandemic.

“We must not let that happen,” said Trump.

Reporting By Jeff Mason, Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Sandra Maler