President Bush served notice today to cop-killing drug traffickers that “hunting season is over” and said he is determined to attack the nation’s drug problem on both the supply and demand fronts.
Kicking off what the White House has billed as “drug week,” Bush flew to New York to pay tribute to Drug Enforcement Administration agents killed in the line of duty.
Bush, who headed a drug interdiction task force as vice president, told his audience at the DEA’s New York offices that “it used to be unthinkable to shoot a cop.” But heightened pressure against drug traffickers has raised the level of violence, he said, citing the recent slaying of DEA agent Everett Hatcher.
Just before his speech, Bush met with Hatcher’s widow, Mary Jane Hatcher.
The President also planned to address a United Negro College Fund dinner before returning late today to Washington.
Bush had been scheduled to kick off his anti-drug crusade Tuesday with appearances in Lancaster, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., but bad weather forced the cancellation of that trip.
In today’s speech to drug enforcement officers, the President cited legislation passed by Congress last year providing the death penalty for drug kingpins who commit murder while trafficking in drugs.
“I have some bad news for the bad guys: hunting season is over,” Bush said. “The rules on our side have changed too. It’s about time.”
In a jab at Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, Bush noted that “it’s been over 25 years since anyone has faced the death penalty in this state.” The state Legislature is moving to enact a death penalty statute, which Cuomo opposes.