Puerto Rico: Back Door for Drug Trafficking in US Officials in the US Territory See a Surge in Smuggling after Hurricane Georges

By David Abel, | The Christian Science Monitor, November 13, 1998 | Go to article overview

Puerto Rico: Back Door for Drug Trafficking in US Officials in the US Territory See a Surge in Smuggling after Hurricane Georges


David Abel,, The Christian Science Monitor


Hundreds of small fishing boats trail wakes across the turquoise bay off this tropical port town, but scores of them carry a catch that's more than a little fishy.

In the employ of Colombian cocaine cartels, these boats are one of the latest drug-trafficking challenges to confront US law- enforcement officials - a challenge that has only intensified with the chaos wreaked last month by hurricane Georges.

"There was a snowstorm after the hurricane," says Michael Vigil, head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Puerto Rico, referring to the latest flurry of cocaine shipments through the island. "It gave them a window of opportunity, and they're taking advantage of it." The recent upsurge in Caribbean drug trafficking is a response, in part, to smugglers' search for points of entry other than the US- Mexico border. Moreover, say officials in this American commonwealth, Puerto Rico is not equipped to respond with a crackdown. "We are now in a vulnerable position because a lot of our assets have been transferred to the Southwest border to fight trafficking there," says Jim Weber, FBI special agent in charge in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. "Most of our Coast Guard cutters, naval cruisers, and airplanes went to other regions. We're limited to a few US Customs planes, and the machinery is not designed for this type of surveillance." Fajardo, cited as the entry point of 75 percent of all drugs in Puerto Rico by a 1997 Justice Department report, draws smugglers because it's home to the daily traffic of hundreds of small, wooden fishing boats, called yolas, and is the closest port to an arc of nearby, border-porous islands. It's also home to thousands of migrants from the Dominican Republic. US authorities say Dominican gangs ferry most of the cocaine and other illicit drugs across the 77-mile Mona Passage to Puerto Rico. The Colombian cartels use Dominican smugglers because they often charge 30 percent less than their Mexican counterparts do to fulfill the role of smuggler, according to DEA reports. In and around Puerto Rico, the DEA this year has confiscated more than 8,250 kilos of cocaine, 5,400 kilos of marijuana, and 27 kilos of heroin, the DEA's Mr. Vigil says. Officials in Washington say that represents an increase in seizures over 1997. And the street price of cocaine in the US has plummeted from $28,000 per kilo in March 1997 to about $14,500 in October, indicating a sharp increase in supply. Officials set a record in the Caribbean last year, when they found 6,700 pounds of cocaine in a tractor-trailer. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Puerto Rico: Back Door for Drug Trafficking in US Officials in the US Territory See a Surge in Smuggling after Hurricane Georges
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.