The Trump administration is reportedly examining a new policy that could make drug dealers eligible for the death penalty.
The Justice Department and the president's Domestic Policy Council are looking into policy changes that could allow prosecutors to pursue the death penalty for drug deals, and an announcement could come within weeks, The Washington Post reported Friday.
Currently, the death penalty can only be sought in drug-related cases in which murder or the death of a law enforcement officer is involved.
One White House approach would be to make high-volume trafficking of fentanyl a capital crime, given that even a small amount of the synthetic can be fatal, while officials are also looking at harsher noncapital punishments for large-scale dealers, the Post reported.
Trump has reportedly talked privately about drug dealers getting the death penalty, and has pointed to countries with harsher punishments for drug dealers as examples for reducing drug-related crimes
"Some countries have a very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty, and they have much less of a drug problem than we do," Trump said at a White House summit last week.
One such country that Trump has reportedly looked to as an example is Singapore. According to the Post, representatives from Singapore have briefed senior White House officials on that country's drug policies.
Trump has also reportedly said that he does not see lenient approaches to drug-related crimes as effective, and believes that children need to be taught that they will die if they use illicit substances.
Trump administration officials actively examining policies that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug dealers is the latest sign that Trump is eager to bolster his hard-line reputation on illegal drugs and combatting the opioid crisis.
His administration has already taken a number of steps to crack down on drug use. Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE directed federal prosecutors last year to seek the toughest penalties for drug-related crimes.