Claim isn’t wrong, DEA stats back it up
Lawrence pols bristling over U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ slam on the benighted Merrimack Valley burg need to face the facts — their city has a drug problem and a lot of it is fueled by people who don’t belong here.
Just read the most recent national drug threat assessment by the Drug Enforcement Agency, which points out that drug cartels from the Dominican Republic have a vise-grip on the city.
“Dominican drug dealers involved in retail distribution are mainly sourced by Dominican (transnational criminal organizations) based in New York, NY, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Lawrence, Massachusetts,” wrote DEA officials in the 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment. The annual report looks at the origins of heroin, cocaine and other drugs sold in the nation as well as the cartels running the market and sale hot spots. Dominican gangs dominate retail drug sales in the Merrimack Valley, according to the DEA report.
“It’s so well documented,” said Saugus police officer James Scott, who trains cops to uncover identity thieves, many of whom are illegal immigrants with long drug rap sheets. The program, which has been used by New Hampshire and Massachusetts officials to bust hundreds of identity thieves here illegally, has shown a common pattern, Scott said.
“A great deal of our imposters that we’ve identified for years have addresses on their licenses coming from Lawrence,” said Scott.
Sessions singled out Lawrence Thursday during a visit to Concord, N.H. — applauding federal officers for a sweeping opioid bust that included “four illegal aliens residing in the sanctuary city of Lawrence, Massachusetts.”
That has prompted Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera to grandstand by threatening a libel suit.
Both Sessions and President Trump have slammed Lawrence for its sanctuary city status,
Just read the most recent national drug threat assessment by the Drug Enforcement Agency ... drug cartels from the Dominican Republic have a vise-grip on the city.
which sharply limits local police from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detain and deport illegal immigrants.
“There can be no sanctuary for drug dealers and fentanyl dealers in this country,” Sessions added.
Trump has called for Congress to strip federal funding from all sanctuary and Trust Act communities, which also include Boston, Northampton, Amherst and Cambridge.
Trump and Sessions may have overplayed their hand by casting all sanctuary cities as drug dens — DEA reports haven’t noted increased drug sales in other Bay State sanctuaries like Amherst.
But outraged pols like Rivera should recognize the drug problems in his own backyard and keep his focus on fixing it.