• Connect with us on Linkedin

US to Boost Anti-Drug Violence Efforts in Puerto Rico

  • Written by Marguerite Cawley and Michael Tatone
  • Thursday, 07 February 2013
Puerto Rico Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi 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. 

Linkedin
Google +

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.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

Most Read

2 Divergent Views on El Salvador Gang Truce, 1 Sad Conclusion

2 Divergent Views on El Salvador Gang Truce, 1 Sad Conclusion

Two wildly divergent views of what is happening with the truce between El Salvador's two foremost gangs converge in one important way: they both paint a bleak picture for the near future of the fragile...

Read more

Uncertainty Swirls Around Mexico Vigilantes Disarmament 'Agreement'

Uncertainty Swirls Around Mexico Vigilantes Disarmament 'Agreement'

A vigilante leader in Mexico's Michoacan state has promised the groups will disarm by May 10, but details about what their agreement with the government entails are hazy, and it remains to be seen whether...

Read more

Ecuador Car Theft Rings Fuel Billion Dollar Transnational Trade

Ecuador Car Theft Rings Fuel Billion Dollar Transnational Trade

In 2013, Ecuador lost around $22 million and over 7,000 vehicles to car theft, a lucrative international trade that connects street level thieves to transnational organized crime groups.

Read more