Trump tells Sessions fentanyl dealers should get the death penalty: report

Trump tells Sessions fentanyl dealers should get the death penalty: report
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE on Thursday told Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe MORE that he thinks those convicted of illegally dealing fentanyl should get the death penalty, according to a Bloomberg report.

Two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that Trump shared his view with Sessions at a meeting with other administration officials, including Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 White House adopts confident tone after Pelosi signals go on impeachment Conway: Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping issue MORE, who is overseeing White House efforts to battle the nationwide opioid epidemic.

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Both Sessions and the president have encouraged the use of the death penalty in drug cases before.

Sessions issued a memo in late March about seeking the death penalty for drug trafficking cases, writing, "I strongly encourage federal prosecutors to use these statutes, when appropriate, to aid in our continuing fight against drug trafficking and the destruction it causes in our nation."

Trump called for the use of the death penalty against drug traffickers in March as well, as he vowed to harden America's borders to the trafficking of fentanyl and other opioids.

Most fentanyl comes to the U.S. from Chinese manufacturers via Mexican drug cartels, according to a federal report.  

Though other opioids contribute to the growing number of opioid-related deaths, the illegal traffic of fentanyl has caused the number of fatal opioid overdoses to rocket skyward.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has said that fentanyl and its analogues killed an estimated 29,000 Americans last year. 

According to Bloomberg, people convicted of dealing in large quantities of drugs or money related to the trade can be sentenced to death, under a law signed by President Clinton.

However, prosecutors have never sought the penalty in fear that it is unconstitutional, Politico reported.

The attorney general’s office would not comment to The Hill.

The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment.  

Updated at 6:40 p.m.