Federal Prosecutor: ‘Drug Trafficking Is Inherently Violent’

Steve Cook, president of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys (NAAUSA), said his organization opposes President Barack Obama’s decision to commute the sentences of 46 convicted felons and his push for more lenient sentences for “low-level,” “non-violent” drug traffickers.

“Drug trafficking is inherently violent. You keep hearing the phrase ‘non-violent drug offenders’ — it’s a misnomer,” Cook said at a news conference on Friday. “Drug trafficking is inherently violent and the penalties are necessary.”

Cook, who works as an assistant U.S. attorney in Chattanooga, Tenn., defended minimum, mandatory sentences for drug traffickers as an important tool to dismantle drug trafficking organizations.

In announcing the commutations last week, President Obama described the 46 felons as people “engaged in non-violent drug offenses” who deserve a second chance. Many of the 46 were crack or cocaine dealers.