In a special interview Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy was joined by Crom Carmichael in-studio as they both welcomed Derek Maltz who was in charge of the US DOJ DEA/Special OPs division up until 2014.
During the third hour, Maltz explained how he felt that the violence was increasing and that more than 80 people a day are dying from fentanyl a day which comes through to the US via drug cartels. He also noted how the cartels are setting up cells in sanctuary cities where they feel protected and therefore increasing the potential for more death and violence in America. Maltz was adamant that there is a need for real leadership and accountability to fight this war.
Leahy: We are joined now on the line now by Derek Maltz who was a special agent in charge of the US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration Special Operations division from May of 2005 to July of 2014. Derek, we met in Washington in September. Tell us about this horrific crime and what it means about what the drug cartel is doing in Mexico and the security of the United States.
Maltz: Michael, good morning and thank you for having me back. First of all. Condolences out to the families. If you watched the videos that were on the TV yesterday and saw some of the family members, it’s just heartbreaking to see what happened to those poor innocent people.
It also is a wake-up call for America because this is the level of violence. It’s getting worse. It’s not getting better. So if you don’t take action it’s going to continue to get worse. People are dying at record levels in Mexico. People are dying at record levels in America.
I don’t know what we’re waiting for. This is a weapon of mass destruction attack against our country because the fentanyl and the methamphetamine is killing people in this country like we’ve never seen before. So even though this event in Mexico this week was super tragic and super sad, what about everybody that’s dying every day? Just from fentanyl alone, there are 80 people a day that are dying a day in the United States. We’re not really talking too much about that.
Leahy: When you were our guest at the FAIR event in Washington, D.C. in September, you and almost every sheriff were there said that,look, sanctuary cities, which are now all over the United States going from the Mexcian border to the Canadian border are essentially the highway of illegal crime and money flowing in for drugs and human trafficking from Americans to the Mexican cartels. Is that really getting worse and not better in your view Derek?
Maltz: Yeah. because people are running across the border. For example, there was a report out last week from the Department of Homeland Security reported that 147,000 ran across the border that they couldn’t even capture or apprehend that they knew about.
Those people then establish themselves in different cities around America. The cartels are almost in every city in this country. And what they do is they sit there and they work for the cells in that region and then they move drugs, move money and commit violence when needed in that area.
So yeah, they’re going to the sanctuary cities because they know they’re going to be protected. Just like now in Mexico after the President of Mexico’s weak position two weeks ago when Chapo Guzman’s son was arrested and captured based on a US warrant. They let him go.
Maltz: Because he basically was intimidating the country. He was shooting up people. He was burning the city down. And the president has a very weak stand on going after these cartels. And his strategy is going to fail miserably. But unfortunately, if America sits back and does nothing and doesn’t take a more aggressive position it’s going to impact more and more of our families. That’s where I have a problem.
Leahy: Yesterday, the President Tweeted that it’s time for a war against the drug cartel. And he’s waiting. Waiting for the President of Mexico to ask for help. Is that going to happen?
Maltz: Oh no way is that going to happen. And I’ll tell you, I’m so happy the President did that because he put the President of Mexico in a corner. Because he had to answer the question and he doesn’t want help.
The reason he doesn’t want help is because there’s too much money going into his pockets and into the Mexican economy because of the drug cartels and their business. And by the way Michael, I think you know this, but the listeners may not be aware of this, but the corruption is so widespread in Mexico that none of these people want this to go away because that’s how they make a living.
Leahy: They’re making money at it.
Maltz: They’re getting paid.They’re making millions of dollars. You’ve got to remember this cartel business is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. And it’snot just drugs coming into America. I heard some guy yesterday on another show was telling me, ‘Hey, if you legalize drugs it’s going to dry up the cartels.’ No, the cartels are in 50, 60, 70 countries.
They’re bombing Australia with cocaine for an example. And they’re getting $200,000.00 a kilogram in Australia. They’re making hundreds of millions of dollars.
Leahy: So it’s a big operation.
Maltz: Huge operation.
Leahy: In the studio with us is Crom Carmicheal and Crom has a question for you.
Carmichael: Here’s my question. And I understand what you’re saying and I agree that the drug trade is Mexico’s biggest exporting product and I do understand that the President of Mexico has rejected Trump’s help on the war on drugs. And Trump has put him in a corner.
This reminds me a little bit of the NBA and China. In that, you’ve got a billion-dollar deal and the NBA is cow-towing to China. We certainly cant’, I don’t think we can legally invade Mexico all by ourselves and attack the drug cartels.
I’m trying to find a solution here. I agree with what you’re saying that there needs to be a war, but what’s the solution?
Maltz: Great points.Excellent, excellent points. I would say that one that needs to be done right off the bat where we can control it right? We have to get the agencies and task forces arrangement in America where we put the best and brightest with the most significant capabilities and authorities.
Not just with law enforcement. But with the intelligence community, Department of Defense and we put the legal people together to make sure we’re doing stuff legally sound to keep the rule of law. And what we do is we use these unbelievable authorities that our government has and we shut down monies for example.
Monies that are flowing outside our country with this trade-based money laundering systems that they have. For example are you guys aware of a simple scheme where they’ll collect cartel money all around America and bring the money back to the garment district in Los Angeles and will deposit the cash in the garment business district and they’ll ship these clothes down to Mexico to sell and that’s how they launder the money.
So there’s a lot of things that can be done eternally in the United States without going into Mexico and using drones and invading with the Seals. There are things that could be done that aren’t being done right now.
Leahy: And why aren’t they being done right now, Derek?
Maltz: It’s a total breakdown in leadership. And this is kind of driving me insane because I talk to my buddies every day in these different agencies and you have people that have been put in these positions that have no prerequisite skills or leadership to understand the global drug trade.
And so they talk a big game. They look good in a suit. They get on the TV and the radio but they have no substance. There’s no following. They don’t have any credibility. So they’re not basically calling their people together. I’ll give you a great example. Are you ready for this?
This is probably the clearest example. Back in like a year and a half ago when Jeff Sessions was the attorney general, they formed a task force for five major transnational threats to the country. Sinaloa Cartel, Jalisco cartel, MS-13, Lebanese Hezbollah, and the cartel in Columbia. So they had the concept pursuant to the President’s executive order on transnational crime.
But here’s where they failed. there’s no operational implementation plan. There’s no accountability. There’s no information sharing accountability. So agencies are going outdoing their own thing and the leaders are just sitting there ignoring it because they think everything’s going smoothly. It’s not!
Carmichael: Obviously the money the drug cartels make in Mexico a lot of it goes to Mexican officials to pay them off. How much money do you think is going to US officials to pay them off?
Maltz: Oh god. That’s a good question. I don’t know. Look, the business is so big and so many billions of dollars, obviously, it’s corrupting people in the world. It’snot just in Mexico. I mean, Central America is another example.
Leahy: If the president calls you, what do you tell him today? 10 seconds.
Maltz: I tell him to designate the cartels, get the agencies aligned, and hold sold somebody accountable for progress and read the progress report.
Listen to the full third hour:
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