Puerto Rico Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi

US authorities are set to invest millions of dollars to tackle drug and arms trafficking in Puerto Rico, according to the island's resident commissioner, highlighting the growing influence of organized crime on the Caribbean territory. 

Pedro Pierluisi announced that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to send reinforcements to boost stretched law enforcement agencies, namely the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Coast Guard, reported EFE. The objective of the plan is to boost both the number and the coverage of the organizations' operations.

Assistants to US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano also said in Washington that the department is close to announcing new "concrete and substantial steps" to combat drug trafficking on the territory, El Nuevo Dia reported.

The announcement occurs nearly simultaneously with the naming of a new FBI director for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, Carlos Cases, who has also announced plans to work with the authorities to combat corruption, drug trafficking and organized crime.

InSight Crime Analysis

The decision to reinforce counternarcotics operations in Puerto Rico is indicative of the island's growing importance for drug traffickers, and the fact that it is currently ill-prepared to deal with this threat.

In early 2012, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that Puerto Rico had become an important transit point for cocaine smugglers, who usually send shipments first to smaller islands and using Puerto Rico as a stopping point before reaching the US.

Since then, several measures have been taken to combat this rise. In September 2012, the DHS launched the Caribbean Guard Operation to combat the flow of illegal arms, drugs and money, while in January 2013, Puerto Rico’s governor announced that the US National Guard would be deployed along the island's coastline to combat drugs and arms trafficking.

Reinforcements for the agencies tasked with policing the island and its surrounds may begin to tackle what makes the island so attractive to traffickers: its easy access to the US mainland, generally with few inspections, and police corruption.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.