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Puerto Rico Airport Was Hub in Major Drug Trafficking Bust

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Things got hot in Puerto Rico Thursday for two criminal organizations busted for massive-scale narcotics trafficking.

Thirty-six arrests were made in a major bust, culminating a collaboration between the DEA, the Puerto Rico PD, FBI, and San Juan Municipal Police.

It was all part of an effort to disable two criminal organizations which had based much of their drug trafficking out of Puerto Rico’s International Airport, reports Reuters.

Two indictments unsealed Wednesday charged 25 individuals with trafficking cocaine, and 20 more including American Airlines employees who exploited their security access to aid drug couriers, according to an FBI press release. The indictments allege that more than 61,000 pounds (28,000 kg) of cocaine have been smuggled out of PR on commercial flights to the U.S. mainland since 1999.

Laila Rico, a DEA Spokeswoman for the Caribbean Division, called the bust an important blow. She told Reuters, “The Puerto Rico airport is sought-after by drug dealers because it’s basically a mid-point between South American countries and the United States and offers an easy entry point,” Rico said.

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