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Puerto Rican Police Indicted On Federal Drug Charges

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Published On: August 14, 2001          Updated On: August 14, 2001
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

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Puerto Rican Police Indicted On Federal Drug Charges (8-14-01)

When there is so much profit to be made in the illicit drug trade, it is difficult to keep corruption out of the picture.  Until a drug policy  can be developed that drops the price of drugs and reduces the profitability of the drug trade, corruption of even high ranking officials will remain commonplace.  This article shows this principle in action in Puerto Rico.

Terence T. Gorski
August 14, 2001

Twenty-Nine Police Officers Indicted on Federal Drug Charges in Puerto Rico

Published: Aug 14, 2001

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Twenty-nine Puerto Rican police officers were arrested on drug charges following a 14-month corruption investigation, officials said Tuesday.

"The indicted officers offered protection to undercover agents seeking help in moving drug shipments," said Marlene Hunter, the FBI agent in charge of Puerto Rico.

Twenty-eight of the officers were charged with conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine and with carrying firearms while committing a drug offense, Hunter said. The other officer was indicted on the conspiracy charges. Three civilians were also accused of conspiracy.

The police officers - including some from elite anti-drug squads - were from police departments in the capital of San Juan, the central city of Caguas and east-coast Fajardo and Humacao.

Hunter said the officers typically assisted in alleged drug drop-offs while carrying service handguns, wearing uniforms and agreeing to help the vehicles avoid searches.

All the suspected officers were suspended from their jobs, said Police Superintendent Pierre Vivoni. They are being held in a federal detention center in suburban San Juan awaiting bail hearings.

If convicted, the 32 suspects face sentences of up to life imprisonment and up to $4 million in fines, Hunter said.


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