Following the Evidence

January 12, 2018 Crime , OTHER

USCG photo

 

By

Ricardo Swire

 

Since Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic struck and devastated Puerto Rico (PR) in September 2017, ultra-modern transnational drug traffickers have taken advantage of the island’s internal security vulnerabilities. The Caribbean island’s strategic geographical position between South America and continental USA is exploited, use as a central drugs corridor ballooned. Caribbean intelligence data calculated eighty percent of drugs transiting PR are deposited on America’s eastern seaboard. One third, en route to continental America, travels via other Caribbean islands.

One National Drug intelligence Centre report noted Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Carolina, PR as the main gateway for cocaine and heroin transported to continental America. Caribbean intelligence officials observe a drug trafficking pattern of increased cargo containers, fishing boats and yachts retrofitted with secret compartments that voyage to PR from South America, via the Dominican Republic (DR). An increased number of illegal firearms have been smuggled by air, sea, freight, private couriers and US mail from mainland America to PR’s drug trafficking syndicates.

On one occasion the US Postal Inspection Service intercepted one hundred and five illegal guns, fifty percent more than the previous year. For the first eight months of the following year eighty-five weapons, camouflaged in postmarked packages in route to PR, were seized. Another US Postal Inspection Service operation found three pistols hidden inside a portable CD player. The weaponry was “double-boxed” and mailed overnight to the Caribbean island from a Haines City, Florida address.

AK47s and AR15 assault rifles, modified magazines, sniper scopes, lasers and armour piercing or “cop-killer” bullets, discovered in other US Postal Inspection Service initiatives. Amplified cargo container usage was demonstrated in 2017’s largest single interception to date of seven hundred and nine pounds of cocaine, valued US22 million, shipped from PR to Philadelphia, USA. The multimillion dollar cocaine consignment, concealed in furniture cabinets originating from PR, was discovered by US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agents assigned to the Area Port of Philadelphia.

Acting on intelligence reports CBP officers on duty at the Pennsauken seaport in New Jersey examined the identified shipping containers and found an incongruity with one. The suspect container was immediately transferred to the CBP’s Centralized Examination Station in Philadelphia. State-of-the-art technology found that artificial surfaces, affixed to several pieces of bedroom and kitchen cabinets, hid two hundred and fifty-six bricks of cocaine.

In another drug seizure at the same Port of Philadelphia US$900,000 or thirteen point five six kilos of cocaine, shipped from PR to a Cinnaminson New Jersey address, was stopped. America’s Caribbean island has a US$3.6 billion tourism industry that attracts five million annual visitors. PR’s three hundred and eleven miles of coastline is patrolled by several US Coast Guard (USCG) ships in the Cutter Sapelo class.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Caribbean Division has zeroed in on prospering Colombian and DR drug cartels. After a local National Guard Major-General was assigned to manage PR’s police force seventeen thousand officer compliment, a forceful law enforcement offensive has been ongoing. Findings of a one hundred and sixteen page national police report verified by evidence retrieved during a DEA/police counter-narcotics raid in PR’s oceanfront Old San Juan ghetto “La Perla” that exposed the island’s heroin capital.

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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