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Sharp Increases in Drug-Cash Seizures in Caribbean

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Tides of troubled water are lapping Caribbean shores it seems.

Federal agencies have seen a sharp increase in drug-money seizures in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands over the past year, the AP reports, “an apparent sign that more drug proceeds are flowing through the US island territory and the Caribbean as a whole.”

A division of ICE known as Homeland Security Investigations reported a 68 percent increase in cash seizures in Puerto Rico–nearly $2.4 million in total–for the 12 months ending Sept. 30.

The DEA saw seizures more than double as well, to $18 million. The numbers pale in comparison to what is seized along the US-Mexico border. Still, the Justice Department considers  Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands “major bulk cash movement center,” says AP.

Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s congressional representative, asked the House of Representatives for more aid recently, saying, according to AP:  “We are in a crisis in the Caribbean.” The island set a new homicide record this year as drug-related violence spiked. More than 1,100 have been killed.

Pedro Janer, the acting special agent in charge of the DEA’s Caribbean division, says the trends are the result of stricter enforcement along the US-Mexico border, AP reported. “Every time we put a major squeeze at the border they have to go someplace else,” Janer said. “Well, the second preferred route is the Caribbean. They are always going back and forth.”

To read more click here.


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