Photo: Puerto Rico
Federal and local authorities arrested 28 people on Thursday around Puerto Rico for belonging to a drug trafficking organization.
The FBI spokesman on the island, Moises Quiñones, confirmed the arrests to Efe, adding that they were made after a federal grand jury issued an indictment.
He added that the arrests were made in the public housing projects of La Montaña, Cuesta Vieja, Villanueva and Aponte, all of which are in Aguadilla, as well as in Aguada and Barceloneta. One arrest was also made in Florida.
The accused will appear on Thursday at a preliminary hearing before Judge Silvia Carreño Coll in the U.S. District Court in San Juan.
Authorities staged a similar operation on June 3 in different public housing projects in San Juan and the northern town of Toa Alta, where they took at least 45 people into custody on charges of selling and trafficking heroin, cocaine and marijuana.
Puerto Rico police chief Jose Caldero said in a recent interview with Efe that 18 percent of the drugs that pass through the Caribbean on their way to the continental United States remain on the island.
That drug flow “has remained more of less the same” for more than two decades, said Caldero, basing his remark on figures compiled by intelligence agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Although the number of homicides in Puerto Rico has fallen over the past three years, dropping from 1,136 in 2011 - the highest annual figure since 1984 - to 1,005 in 2012 and 883 in 2013, drug trafficking is responsible for 70 percent of the murders committed on the island, Caldero said.