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Is Donald Trump Right About Illegal Drugs Becoming Cheaper Than Candy Bars?

President Donald Trump blitzed reporters with a flurry of outrageous statements during his press conference last Thursday. If you missed it, check out CNN's collection of the most outlandish statements made during the tumultuous presser. But one claim about the drug crisis in America might not be as bogus as Trump's other claims. 

During the hostile conference, Trump said, "We’ve ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Justice to coordinate on a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We’re not gonna let it happen any longer.”

The Donald was skewered on Twitter for that point about drugs and candy. But Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post says there is some truth to Trump's claim -- depending on the drug and the candy bar. Basically, larger chocolate bars like Toblerone can be more expensive than small capsules of heroin called "peewees." Ingraham also found that certain opioids can go for as little as $1 a pill on the street, which is comparable to the price of a chocolate bar at 7-Eleven.

Moreover, the street price of drugs has consistently gone down since the 80s, so Trump was hitting on or near some valid points while discussing the issue. 

But his plan for combating drug cartels goes wide of the mark. Trump argues that his plans to build a giant wall between America and Mexico will halt the flow of illegal drugs across the border. "I want to build the wall," he said during a campaign event in Las Vegas last October. "We need the wall. The border patrol, ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], they all want the wall. We stop the drugs. We shore up the border."

That plan probably won't work because Mexican drug cartels have become adept tunnellers. Last year, the BBC released a video of a mile-long tunnel connecting Tijuana with San Diego. It had lightning, a ventilation system and a rail line as well as an elevator to help move thousands of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana. So a wall might make business inconvenient, but not impossible for drug runners.

And if they don't want to go under it, drug runners can go over the wall using old school technology. Last September, the Associated Press reported that at least one cartel had been using a cannon mounted on a van to fire softball-sized packages of cannabis into America. And earlier this week, Arizona's Customs and Border Patrol reported that they had captured and dismantled a catapult used to lob marijuana into America.

So Trump's border wall might not do anything but embroil America in a catapult-and-cannon arms race with Mexican cartels.


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