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Governor Announces $1,000-a-Month Increase for Department of Education Teachers

Feb. 7, 2022

Following last Friday's massive protest, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced a $1,000-a-month increase for Department of Education teachers starting in July of this year.

As indicated by the chief executive in a press conference, the Fiscal Control Board only approved an increase of $ 470 in two terms, $ 235 in the summer and another $ 235 in January 2023, after complying with certain requirements.

Pierluisi explained that after the necessary calculations and consultations with the federal government, it was possible to identify the money from the Emergency Relief Fund for Elementary and Secondary Schools (ESSER, for its acronym in English) for the requested increase of $ 1,000 per month.

However, Pierluisi clarified that this is a temporary measure in which recurrent state funds are identified "to make it permanent."

In other words, from July of this year, instead of receiving only the $235 that was approved in the Fiscal Plan, they will receive $1,000 with the difference of $765 from federal funds.

On the other hand, from January 1, 2023, instead of an increase of $ 470 that is already approved, they will receive $ 1,000 and the difference of $ 530 will come from federal funds.

Earlier, the president of the Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR), Victor Bonilla, was summoned for a meeting today with Pierluisi and in this they had anticipated that the Government would grant a salary increase of $ 1,000 to the teacher class starting July 1.

As he left the meeting, Bonilla told members of the press that Pierluisi summoned them in the evening hours to meet today. In addition, the teacher leader confirmed that La Fortaleza made a commitment to salary justice, which includes a $1,000 increase for teachers. This was one of the demands raised by the thousands of educators who participated in a massive demonstration last Friday.

According to Bonilla, with that increase the base salary of teachers would increase from $2,200 to $3,100.

Coast Guard repatriates 66 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following the interdiction of 2 illegal voyages in the Mona Passage

May 19, 2021.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley crew repatriated 66 migrants to the Dominican Republic Tuesday, following the interdiction of two illegal voyages in Mona Passage waters off Puerto Rico.

The interdicted migrants consisted of 55 men and 11 women claiming to be Dominican Republic nationals.

The interdictions are the result of ongoing efforts by Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) partner agencies to combat illegal migrant smuggling.

The aircrew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected the first illegal voyage Monday morning, approximately 47 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley responded to the sighting and interdicted the suspect vessel with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat. The cutter’s crew safely embarked the migrants, 44 men and 10 women, from a grossly overloaded 28-foot makeshift vessel that was riding low and taking on water.

The crew of a Puerto Rico Police Joint Force of Rapid Action marine unit interdicted the second illegal voyage Tuesday morning, approximately three nautical miles off the coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser arrived on scene shortly thereafter and embarked the migrants, 11 men and a woman, from the 20-foot makeshift vessel. The migrant group later embarked aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley for their repatriation.

Prior to embarking, the Coast Guard crews provided the migrants with lifejackets. Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, they receive food, water and basic medical attention.

“Illegal migrant voyages in the Mona Passage are incredibly dangerous,” said Lt. Christopher Martin, cutter Donald Horsley commanding officer. “The vessels utilized in these ventures are often unseaworthy, lack basic safety equipment, and are grossly overloaded putting each person on the voyage at risk. We are fortunate we were able to locate these vessels before the situation worsened, safely removing all 66 persons and repatriating them to the Dominican Republic.”

The cutter Donald Horsley rendezvoused with a Dominican Republic Navy vessel just off Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where the crew transferred and completed the repatriation of the migrants to Dominican Republic Navy authorities.

Coast Guard transfers 3 smugglers, over $6.6 million in seized cocaine to federal agents in Puerto Rico, following interdiction near Mona Island, Puerto Rico

March 16, 2021

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark transferred custody of three suspected smugglers and an estimated $6.6 million in seized cocaine to federal agents at Coast Guard Base San Juan Friday, following the interdiction of a drug smuggling vessel in the Mona Passage near Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The suspected smugglers are males, Dominican Republic nationals, who now face criminal charges by Department of Justice prosecution partners in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico.

The interdiction resulted from multi-agency efforts in support of U.S. Southern Command's enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) programs, and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF).

"This successful interdiction is the result of the strong partnerships and excellent coordination achieved daily between Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice law enforcement agencies combating transnational smuggling organizations in the Caribbean," said Capt. Gregory Magee, Sector San Juan Commander. "These efforts serve to protect the nation's southernmost maritime border and our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from this nefarious threat."

The bust occurred Tuesday night, after the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air and Marine Branch maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious go-fast vessel in international waters just off Mona Island.

The Coast Guard Cutter Valiant diverted in pursuit and with the assistance of the cutter's small boat successfully interdicted the suspect go-fast vessel. Following the interdiction, Cutter Valiant’s boarding team and crew seized over 236 kilograms of cocaine.

The crew of the cutter Valiant embarked the three men from the go-fast vessel and later transferred them, along with the seized contraband, to the Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark for transport and offload in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where CCSF federal agents received custody.

Video related to murder in Fajardo released

March 10, 2021

Agents, assigned to the Homicide Division of the Fajardo Criminal Investigation Corps, disseminated a video in relation to a murder that occurred in the afternoon of January 29, 2021 in the Vistas del Convento urbanization, in Fajardo.

In the images you can see how two individuals, carrying firearms, get out of a Hyundai Accent vehicle, white, and proceed to enter the premises of the residence where Edwin Torres Rosario, 46, was shot to death. Subsequently, the suspects left the scene in the vehicle, in which a third person who was driving was waiting for them.

One of the hitmen wore a shirt and long pants with a cap, all in black, and the second a red shirt, blue denim pants and a cap.

Police urged any person who has knowledge or information that helps to identify these individuals and/or clarify this murder to contact the confidential line (787) 343-2020 or with agent Julio Prado at the Fajardo CIC at ( 787) 863-3240.

Coast Guard transfers 3 smugglers, over $5.6 million in seized cocaine to federal agents in Puerto Rico, following interdiction near the U.S. Virgin Islands

March 3, 2021.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez transferred custody of three suspected smugglers and $5.6 million in seized cocaine to federal agents at Coast Guard Base San Juan Tuesday, following the interdiction of a drug smuggling vessel in the Caribbean Sea off St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The suspected smugglers are 3 males, one Venezuelan and two Dominican Republic nationals, who now face criminal charges by Department of Justice prosecution partners in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico.

The interdiction resulted from multi-agency efforts in support of U.S. Southern Command's enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) programs, and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF).

"This interdiction was the result of great teamwork from beginning to end with our interagency partners." said Lt. Peter Kelly, Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon commanding officer. "I am extremely proud of the execution of the Richard Dixon crew in what was not an easy mission, and we are pleased to have kept such a large amount of cocaine from reaching U.S. streets."

The bust occurred during the afternoon of Feb. 23, 2021, after the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air and Marine Branch maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious go-fast vessel in international waters southeast of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon diverted to interdict the go-fast vessel with the assistance of the cutter's small boat. Following the interdiction, the Cutter Richard Dixon's boarding team located and seized over 200 kilograms of cocaine.

The crew of the cutter Richard Dixon embarked the three men and seized contraband from the go-fast vessel, and later transferred them aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez for transport and offload in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where CCSF federal agents received custody.

 

Police arrest one of the 10 most wanted in the Aguadilla police area

February 25, 2021

Personnel from the Division of Arrests and Raids and Intelligence of the Criminal Investigations Corps of Aguadilla this morning announced the arrest of José Rosario, alas Choki, 33, who was listed as one of the 10 most wanted in that area of Puerto Rico for attempted murder and violation of the Gun Law.

The arrest took place at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, in Carolina.

Lieutenant Edgar Valle, director of the aforementioned division, reported that Rosario's arrest was made upon his arrival on the island, on a flight from Miami, Florida.

The charges were brought against him in 2018 in Aguadilla.

Vaccines found on public roads were delivered to Walgreens

February 24, 2021

After the discovery in Morovis of a box with four syringes and two white vials of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine, the Secretary of the Department of Health, Carlos Mellado, reported tonight that they are vaccines delivered to the Walgreens pharmacy, under the contract Federal for Long-Term Care Centers.

"I have ordered an immediate investigation into what happened to adjudicate responsibility and refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Justice or any other agency with jurisdiction," said the holder of the agency in written statements.

Given this, the Office of Health Investigation will have 24 hours to investigate and submit a report on the facts.

"The management of the vaccine in the emergency requires that all providers act with the greatest possible responsibility," said Mellado.

This afternoon, the Department of Health explained in a press conference that the vials contained some 21 vaccines that "unfortunately were lost."

Individual Indicted For Armed Robbery Of Gas Station In Bayamón

February 19, 2021

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On February 10, 2021, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Rey Omar Pagán-Hernández with the armed robbery of gas station, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

According to the indictment, on July 5, 2020, Rey Omar Pagán-Hernández robbed at gunpoint a Toral gas station located at 101 Magnolia Avenue in Bayamón. He stole approximately $800 and merchandise.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan Carlos Reyes-Ramos of the Violent Crimes and National Security Section is in charge of the prosecution of the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the investigation. If convicted, the defendant faces a sentence in excess of seven years in prison.

Two Individuals Indicted For Trafficking Firearms From Florida

February 18, 2021.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On February 17, 2021, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Edsel Samuel Torres-Cancel and Yomisheika Marie Morales-Rivera with illegally trafficking in firearms and receiving guns from out of state, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

According to the indictment, Edsel Samuel Torres-Cancel and Yomisheika Marie Morales-Rivera were members of a conspiracy that wired money to Orlando, Florida, in 2020 and 2021, and illegally received firearms in Puerto Rico, where the guns were then sold without a license. In February 2021, federal agents intercepted a package sent from Florida to the defendants’ residence containing six Glock pistols and seventeen pistol magazines.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanette Collazo of the Violent Crimes and National Security Section is in charge of the prosecution of the case. Homeland Security Investigations and United States Postal Inspectors are in charge of the investigation. If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison.

Police detain millionaire shipment of cocaine in western Puerto Rico

February 15, 2021

The designated commissioner of the Police Bureau of the Department of Public Security (DSP), Antonio López Figueroa, reported today that in recent weeks the personnel of the Maritime Division of the United Forces Bureau for Rapid Action (FURA) seized several millionaire shipments in the coasts of the island.

According to the officers of the Aguadilla Maritime Division, one of these interventions was today, with three people of undefined immigration status one nautical mile from Punta Borinquen in Aguadilla. In this intervention, a 19-foot-long boat was seized, containing 80 blocks of cocaine, distributed in four bundles, with an approximate value of $ 2,080,000, 1,750 pesos of Dominican coins, $ 2,061, a cell phone and two GPS.

"Once again the great work that our colleagues are doing is demonstrated. Since I assumed the reins of the Police Bureau, we have implemented a series of work plans to prevent these illegal items from entering the coasts of Puerto Rico. As part of the In the fight against drug trafficking, communication and coordination with federal agencies has been strengthened to proactively combat criminal organizations, improving monitoring of drug trafficking in order to dismantle such criminal organizations, "said the commissioner.

López Figueroa added that, as a result of these initiatives, implemented in conjunction with the secretary of the DSP, Alexis Torres, the arrests of individuals, as well as the occupation of drugs and money from illicit sources, have increased.

With this operation, 8 interventions have been carried out by FURA so far this year.

On January 8, 202, 7 blue and black packages containing 204 blocks of cocaine were seized in Fajardo, with an estimated value of $ 6,324,000

In addition, on January 9, 2021, 10 bales were seized in Manatí, which contained 217 blocks with an estimated value of 6,727,000.

In Aguadilla on January 9, 2021, five persons were intervened with an undefined migratory status and one nationalized, occupying the amount of 282.34 blocks, which the field test was carried out showing positive for cocaine, $ 6,845 cash and three vehicles of busy engine. The estimated value of the drug was $ 7,202,540.

Also, on January 29, 2021 in Loíza, a boat with four crew members transported ten bundles with 239 blocks of cocaine. The estimated value of the drug is $ 7,409,000.

Also in Levittown, on February 7, 2021, a block of cocaine was found in the Punta Salinas resort.

On February 10, 2021, 164 blocks of cocaine and 43 blocks of marijuana were seized on Los Tubos beach in Manatí. The estimated value of the drug is $ 4,414,000.

Similarly, on February 12, 2021, 13 bales with 376 blocks of cocaine were seized, with an approximate value of $ 9,776,000 in Arecibo.

And finally, today's intervention, which contained 80 blocks of cocaine.

The Police Commissioner explained that, according to preliminary data, in January 2021, the FURA Bureau seized 1,059.54 kilos of cocaine and arrested 11 people. In January 2020, 47 kilos had been seized and 4 arrests were made. In the first two weeks of February 2021, 625 kilos have been seized and 8 arrests have been made. On the same date, last year, 7 people were arrested.

"We continue to emphasize our strategies against drug trafficking, gunmen and violent crimes in order to achieve greater security for our Country and aimed at making part of the effort to our Communities, Municipal, State, Federal Agencies, civic entities, without the purpose of profit and churches in solving problems in every community, "added the commissioner.

In February 2020, $ 1,132.79 in cash was seized. For 2021, in January $ 6,845.00 in cash was confiscated and so far this month of February $2,554 has been occupied.

Suspect arrested for shooting Toa Alta municipal sergeant

February 5, 2021

 Authorities in Puerto Rico finally arrested Gabriel Santiago Andino and his bail was set at $ 1.4 million for allegedly shooting a sergeant of the Toa Alta Municipal Police.

The arrest by agents of the Comprehensive Plan for Citizen Security occurred at around 11:00 on Thursday night, in the San José neighborhood, in Toa Alta.

Santiago Andino, 19, is charged with attempted murder, violation of the Weapons Law, and violation of the Controlled Substances Law of the Puerto Rico Penal Code. The defendant has a criminal record for theft and violation of the Weapons Law in 2019.

The incident occurred on February 3, when agents from the Police Bureau entered the Ramón Pérez residential complex, in Toa Alta, to corroborate information and interview a person of interest.

Upon noticing the police presence, Santiago Andino fired two shots at Sergeant Xavier Oropeza Rosado, who was wounded in the area of ​​the left hip. Police reported that the officer's condition is stable.

 

CBP Seizes 181 Pounds of Cocaine inside Backpacks On Board a Cargo Vessel Arriving to San Juan

February 2, 2021

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 181 pounds (82 kilos) of cocaine Monday within six (6) backpacks found on board the cargo vessel M/V Molly Schulte calling the port of San Juan from Caucedo, Dominican Republic. The estimated value of the seized cocaine is $ 2.2 million.

“Smugglers use very creative means to conceal their illicit drug loads into the international supply chain”, stated Roberto Vaquero, Assistant Director of Field Operations for Border Security in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Our officers’ expertise, along with the utilization of all available tools, resulted in the detection of these narcotics. Our communities can feel safer knowing that the men and women of CBP are securing their borders.”

On Feb. 1, a CBP Contraband Enforcement Team boarded the vessel for a routine inspection. Inside the vessel, a CBP K9 alerted for a familiar smell within six backpacks near the cargo deck.

CBP Officers inspected the contents of the backpacks finding bricks, which later field tested positive to the properties of cocaine.

CBP in Puerto Rico Seizes Packages with Counterfeit Electronics and Jewelry

February 1, 2021

.SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to find counterfeit and pirated goods that were purchased online by consumers.A sample of a counterfeit Cartier bracelet. CBP San Juan Field Operations seized numerous courier packages sent from Hong Kong containing counterfeit electronic cables, adapters, Apple Air Pods as well as copies of Cartier bracelets and other high-end jewelry brands.

“Consumers and small resellers purchase these products knowing the intrinsic value that these brands represent,” indicated Leida Colon, Assistant Director of Field Operations for Trade. “Consumers are tricked into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount.”

If these items had been genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of over 530,000 US dollars.

CBP officers discovered the counterfeit goods while conducting enforcement examinations on courier packages at the Air Cargo Facility located at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.

In Fiscal Year 2020, the CBP San Juan Field Office seized 2,443 shipments containing goods that violate intellectual property rights with an MSRP value of 46 million US dollars.

The majority of the counterfeit items seized in the San Juan Field Office are illegitimate goods in the jewelry, handbags, electronics, footwear, clothing and prescription drugs product categories. The source countries for most of these items are Hong Kong and China.

There are several steps that consumers can take to protect themselves when shopping online. Purchase goods only from reputable retailers and be wary of third party vendors. Check seller reviews and verify there is a working phone number and address for the seller, in case you have questions about the legitimacy of a product.

CBP has also established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers associated with purchasing counterfeit and pirated goods online or in stores. More information about that initiative is available at www.cbp.gov/fakegoodsrealdangers.

Coast Guard transfers 2 suspected smugglers, $8.5 million in seized cocaine to Caribbean Corridor Strike Force federal agents in San Juan, Puerto Rico

January 30, 2021

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutters Mohawk and Charles David Jr. transferred custody of two suspected smugglers and $8.5 million in seized cocaine to federal agents at Coast Guard Base San Juan Thursday, following the interdiction of a drug smuggling go-fast vessel in the Caribbean Sea.

The interdiction was the result of multi-agency efforts in support of U.S. Southern Command's enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) programs, and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution for this case.

“This successful interdiction is a reflection of the seamless team work and the unwavering resolve between the Coast Guard, our federal law enforcement and Department of Defense partners to protect the nation’s southernmost maritime border against narcotrafficking threats,” said Cmdr. James L. Jarnac, Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk commanding officer. “The strength of our joint collaboration and partnerships is key to a safer Caribbean Region and disrupting transnational criminal organization activities through the interdiction of drug smuggling vessel’s in the maritime domain.”

The bust occurred during the afternoon of Jan. 24, 2021, after the aircrew of a maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious 25-foot go-fast vessel, approximately 200 nautical miles south of the Dominican Republic.

The Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk diverted in response to the sighting and interdicted the go-fast vessel with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat. Following the interdiction, the Coast Guard Mohawk’s boarding team located and recovered nine bales of suspected contraband, which weighed approximately 302 kilograms (666 pounds) and tested positive for cocaine.

The crew of the cutter Mohawk embarked the seized contraband and the two men from the go-fast vessel, who both claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals. The Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. later embarked the two suspected smugglers and a representative sample of the contraband that were disembarked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Caribbean Corridor Strike Force federal law enforcement agents received custody

Tourist Arrested for Attacking Agents on San Juan Airport

January 24, 2021

The Puerto Rico Police Bureau reported the arrest of a tourist, from Philadelphia, for physically attacking several agents.

Sgt. Miguel Márquez, supervisor of the Precinct, indicated that the head of security at the airport hotel contacted state authorities to intervene in the situation. The woman was aggressive and causing damage in one of the hotel rooms.

Agents Pedro Rodríguez and Jacqueline Ubiñas noticed that the 51-year-old woman, identified as Louise Antonetti, was aggressive, breaking things and screaming inside the room where she was accompanied by her 11-year-old son.

When they tried to control her, the officers were stabbed and bitten by the woman until they could arrest her. The minor, who was in the room, was unharmed from the incident.

Personnel from the Family Department are aware of what happened and will take care of the minor.

 

Police Officer Indicted For Theft Of Firearms From Police Weapons Vault And Tampering With Multiple Witnesse

January 21, 2021

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On January 20, 2021, a federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment charging William Cintrón Rivera, a.k.a. “El Kid”/“Kid” with the theft of 54 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. A federal grand jury further charged defendant Cintrón Rivera with tampering with multiple witnesses, by requesting that they provide false information to federal investigators. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is in charge of the investigation of the case.

According to the indictment, on July 17, 2019, in the District of Puerto Rico, defendant Cintrón Rivera stole 54 firearms from the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB), Guayama headquarters. At the time of the theft, defendant Cintrón Rivera was a police officer in the PRPB. In addition, the defendant is charged with the possession of six of the stolen firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

In an effort to cover his crime, Cintrón Rivera attempted to intimidate and corruptly persuade M.T.A. and E.C.R. by requesting that they provide false information to federal investigators relevant to the theft, such as Cintrón Rivera’s whereabouts on the night of the crime.

Subsequently, on December 12, 2020, Cintrón Rivera also attempted to intimidate and corruptly persuade G.A.C. by requesting that she falsely provide information to federal investigators regarding (a) the nature and duration of their relationship; (b) Cintrón Rivera’s whereabouts during the timeframe of the theft; (c) the identity of an alleged informant; and (d) communications involving Cintrón Rivera and G.A.C., including payment for an alleged cell phone.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis A. Valentin and Jonathan L. Gottfried, Chief of the Violent Crimes and National Security Section, are in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 10 years in prison for each firearms count, and 20 years for each witness-tampering count.

US Border Patrol, Law Enforcement Partners Stop 3 Vehicles Arresting 5 Aliens & 1 USC with 625 Pounds of Cocaine and a Firearm in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

January 20, 2021

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – US Border Patrol and law enforcement partners performed 3 vehicles stops that led to the seizure of 625 pounds (284 Kilos) of cocaine and the arrest of five illegal aliens from the Dominican Republic and one United States citizen near Road #2 in Aguadilla. Agents also seized an unloaded firearm. The estimated value of the seized cocaine is $7.3 million.

“We will continue to disrupt and apprehend smugglers that attempt to smuggle people and narcotics across our borders,” indicated Xavier Morales, Chief Patrol Agent for the Ramey Sector. “Having a dedicated workforce partner up with other professionals dedicated to the border security mission is the key to success. Great job by all.”

The law enforcement federal agencies assisting included CBP Field Operations, the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force, the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) and its Joint Forces for Rapid Action (FURA) units.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) assumed custody the contraband, the USC and the illegal aliens for investigation and prosecution.

The Ramey Sector is one of the twenty-one Sectors spread out across the United States. Encompassing the U.S. territorial islands of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, it is the only Border Patrol Sector located outside the continental United States. The Sector's entire border area is made up of coastline and its area of responsibility is made up of some 6,000 square miles of land and water area, including the twelve-mile band of territorial water surrounding the Islands.

One of three policemen who lost their lives during a chase in Puerto Rico had Posthumous promotion

January 16, 2020

The remains of State Police agent Luis Marrero Díaz, killed on Monday along with municipal agents Luis Salamán Conde and Eliezer Hernández Cartagena chasing a suspect on Baldorioty de Castro Avenue, in Carolina, have been lying since yesterday in the Toa Alta cemetery then to be posthumously honored and promoted to sergeant.

Marrero Díaz was given the highest honors in an emotional ceremony attended by members of the Police Force, including the designated secretary of the Department of Public Security (DSP) Alexis Torres, and the nominated commissioner of the Police Bureau, Antonio Lopez.

 Authorities have concluded that David Rivera Batiz, who was found killed the day after the bloody incident was the murderer of the trio t.

Three policemen killed after being ambushed in Isla Verde

January 11, 2020

Two policemen, one municipal and one state, who had been shot in the middle of a shooting with the occupant of a white Hyundai vehicle in front of a hotel in Isla Verde, died this afternoon.

Likewise, one of the two agents who were run over in the middle of this incident died.

The driver of the vehicle involved fled in the direction of San Juan. Police found the vehicle with the engine running in the vicinity of the Luis Lloréns Torres residence.

It is believed that he could be injured

The incident began on Roberto Clemente Street in Carolina when the white car hit another vehicle. When the authorities arrived, the man fled and it was at the Embassy Suites that the shooting took place. The officers were shot with a rifle.

A fire at a PREPA substation in Juana Díaz leaves several areas in the South of PR without power on NewYears Day

01/01/21.

A fire was reported this afternoon in the substation of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA), located on the grounds of the Fort Allen military base, on the PR-149 highway in the Pastillo sector, in the Capitanejo neighborhood of Juana Díaz.

The Firefighters were dispatched from both Ponce and Juana Diaz , under the supervision of Lieutenant Julio Ortiz and Sergeants Pedro Berdecía and Lisander Irizarry, as well as Firefighters from the Fort Allen military base, who extinguished the incident.

It was reported that PREPA's substation burned in its entirety and the losses amounted to more than 500 thousand dollars, according to personnel from the public corporation, who are on sight. There are four units with approximately eight personnel, this in conjunction with the engineer Rafael Rodríguez, who are investigating the causes of the accident.

No injured persons were reported, but several sectors that include the PR-1 and PR-149 highway in the jurisdiction of Juan Díaz and adjacent areas were affected by the lack of electric power services

Almost all of the first Covid-19 vaccines distributed have been administered

The Undersecretary of the Department of Health, Dr. Iris Cardona, reported on Friday that, four days after the start of the first phase of the vaccination process against Covid-19, in Puerto Rico 30,225 doses of the vaccine have been received, of which 17,865 (60%) had been administered as of Thursday night.

“Out of the 30,225 doses, a total of 29,775 have been delivered. We had 450 doses left and the reason for this is that the diluent needed to administer it did not arrive with the vaccine. Those doses are well stored and frozen as they should be ”, Cardona informed

According to the undersecretary, doses of the vaccine were delivered to all hospitals in Puerto Rico, which have moved quickly to administer the doses received. Hospitals in which there is no freezer with the capacity to maintain -80 degrees of temperature, have a period of five days to initially administer the vaccine to hospital personnel.

Cardona pointed out that in most cases, hospitals have received partial deliveries of the vaccine based on their ability to administer it. Each hospital has a different vaccination rate.

Police in Vega Baja Looking for a Bus involved in a Murder

December 11, 2020

Detectives in the Homicide Division of the Vega Baja Criminal Investigation Corps (CIC) seek to find the whereabouts of the vehicle involved in a murder that occurred on December 2, 2020, on Mercurio Street in the Sadin neighborhood of Vega Baja.

 The investigation reveals that it was used by the hit men in the murder of 19-year-old José Luis Flores Marrero.

If anyone has information that helps to find the whereabouts of this vehicle, please contact agent Miguel Barreto of the Homicide Division of the Vega Baja CIC, calling 787-858-2665 or 787-866-2665 or the line Confidential of the Police, by dialing 787-343-2020. Your call will be treated under strict confidentiality

Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Emergency Management crews rescue 3 persons from capsized watercraft just off "Isla de Cabras" Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

December 9, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Coast Guard Station and Puerto Rico Emergency Management crews rescued three persons Tuesday night from a capsized watercraft just off “Isla de Cabras” Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.

“This was a challenging rescue and time was of the essence, since it was dark and the waves were breaking so close to shore,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Timothy DaSilva, Station San Juan boatswains mate and coxswain for the case. “I am very grateful for having an experienced crew and commend them and the responding Puerto Rico Emergency Management crews for their decisive actions which helped save three lives.”

Coast Guard watchstanders in San Juan, Puerto Rico received notification from a 911 emergency operator at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, who reported three people were clinging on to a capsized personal watercraft near “Isla de Cabras”

Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and 33-foot Special Purpose Craft from Station San Juan to search for and rescue any persons in the water. Puerto Rico Emergency Management watercraft units also responded to the scene.

Shortly thereafter, the Station San Juan crew arrived on scene and located the capsized watercraft and the three riders inside the wave break. The Station San Juan crew threw rescue lines that reached a female rider, who they safely recovered from the water. Two Puerto Rico Emergency Management watercraft units that also arrived on scene were able and safely recovered the two other two riders, a man and a woman.

“I feel very happy and thankful to the responding units, they arrived quickly and did a great job in rescuing and bringing me and my friends to safety,” said Daniela Viveros, watercraft rider rescued by the Coast Guard boat crew.

The rescued riders, reported to be adults, were all wearing life jacket

Shooting leaves one dead and two injured in Vieques

VIEQUES - A shooting that occurred at 8:14 p.m. Saturday night claimed the life of a 29-year-old man and injured a 48-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man who were all in the vicinity of a busy business at the intersection of highways 200 and 201.

The murdered man was identified by the Police as Axel R. Díaz López, who resided in the La Mina sector. Police reports indicate that he had a criminal record..

According to the authorities, the victims were in the vicinity of the La Gran Parada business.

Nine Individuals Charged In A Superseding Indictment For Firearms Trafficking

December 2, 2020

.SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging nine individuals for firearms trafficking without a license in the District of Puerto Rico, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The investigation was a joint effort between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD)

According to the superseding indictment, defendants Kenrick Vargas-Castro, Emmanuel Rivera-Figueroa, Christopher Shaquille Pérez-Álvarez, Kassandra Cruz, and Mariam Figueroa engaged in the business of dealing in firearms without a license. The purpose of their firearms trafficking conspiracy was to ship firearms from Texas to Puerto Rico for distribution within Puerto Rico for pecuniary gain.

As part of the conspiracy, Pérez-Álvarez purchased firearms in Texas and sent them to Puerto Rico where other co-conspirators delivered them to other individuals in exchange for money. Defendant Mariam Figueroa-Alicea straw purchased firearms in Texas and received money transfers from co-conspirators who were part of the firearms trafficking organization located in Puerto Rico. Defendant Kassandra Cruz prepared firearms for mailing, sent them to Puerto Rico by mail, and received money transfers related to these transactions.

Kenrick Vargas-Castro delivered the firearms to individuals in Puerto Rico in exchange for money. Rivera-Figueroa received firearms from Vargas-Castro and others and delivered them to other individuals in exchange for money.

Count three charges Kenrick Vargas-Castro, Kevin Ramos, Leemarie Torres-Castro, and Julio Torres-Castro with using means of communication, that is, telephones and the United States mail, to facilitate the trafficking of firearms. Count four charges Kenrick Vargas-Castro, Kevin Ramos, and Leemarie Torres-Castro with a money laundering conspiracy. According to the superseding indictment, these three coconspirators transported currency from the continental United States into Puerto Rico, having the currency concealed within luggage and transported through commercial airlines for delivery in Puerto Rico. They are facing a money laundering forfeiture allegation of $66,291.

Upon conviction of the offenses listed in the superseding indictment, Kenrick Vargas-Castro shall forfeit to the United States one Keltec PLR16 pistol, one Aero Precision X-15 pistol, sixty-three (63) .300 caliber bullets, one round of .45 caliber ammunition, and fifty (50) rounds of .40 caliber ammunition. Christopher Shaquille Pérez-Álvarez and Mariam Figueroa-Alicea shall forfeit to the United States nine (9) Century Arms Micro Draco pistols 7.62 caliber.

“We will vigorously prosecute those involved in the illegal trafficking of drugs and firearms, which are subsequently used in the commission of violent crimes like the shootings that we have seen lately in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “These arrests show our commitment to hold people accountable for drug and firearms trafficking, as well as for laundering the proceeds of their criminal activities.”

GAS STATION ATM STOLEN IN BROAD DAYLIGHT IN VEGA BAJA

NOVEMBER 28, 2020

An undetermined amount of money was stolen by criminals who took away an ATM machine in the middle of an assault perpetrated early today at the Total gas station located on the PR-2 highway, jurisdiction of the Algarrobo neighborhood, in Vega Baja.

According to the preliminary report, three armed men arrived on board a white bus and damaged the front of the gas station to finally load the ATM.

Agents from the Robbery Division of the Vega Baja Criminal Investigation Center (CIC) are investigating.

816 Pounds of Cocaine Attempting to Reach Puerto Rico’s Northern Coast Seized

November 27, 2020

 

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air & Marine Operations (AMO) and the U.S. Coast Guard interdicted Monday night a “yola” type wooden vessel transporting 816 pounds (370 Kilos) of cocaine, arresting three men from the Dominican Republic attempting to enter near Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The estimated value of the seized narcotics is $10 million.

“Transnational criminal organizations attempt to smuggle narcotics in different locations throughout our island testing our resolve,” stated Johnny Morales, Director, Air and Marine Operations for the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. “Our agents continue to use advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities to detect and interdict them throughout our coastal borders.”

On the evening of Nov 23, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) CBP) launched from the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB) in order to conduct a Border Security Patrol. The MPA crew detected a “yola”type vessel heading south eastbound at approximately 13 knots without navigational lights.

The Marine Patrol Aircraft crew maintained surveillance contacting Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos and a USCG Small Interceptor to intercept.

"This successful interdiction is the result of the hard work and dedication of the all the federal and state partners committed to eliminate illicit trafficking from the waters of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” stated CAPT Jose E. Diaz- Deputy Comander. “Keeping dangerous drugs off the streets save lives; today, Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, and FURA crews saved lives."

As the Coast Guard assets approached the vessel, two individuals jumped into the water in order to evade arrest. The Coast Guard stopped the vessel with one-man onboard finding 13 bales of narcotics and one firearm. The two individuals were retrieved from the water.

Coast Guard transported the contraband and the arrested individuals to Arecibo, Puerto Rico, where Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) agents took custody for prosecution and investigation.

AMO safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft, and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation's interior.

The Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) is a multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force group operating in the District of Puerto Rico focusing on Caribbean and South American-based Transnational Criminal Organizations involved in the maritime and air smuggling of shipments of narcotics to and from Puerto Rico and to the Continental U.S. and in the laundering of drug proceeds using bulk cash smuggling and sophisticated laundering activities.CCSF signatory agencies include the DEA, HSI, FBI, CGIS, USMS, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

PR man posing as National Guard soldier arrested in Old San Juan

November 23, 2020

An individual carrying a firearm and wearing camouflage clothing was arrested on Sunday, when he posed as a National Guard soldier and intervened in a business on San Sebastián Street, in Old San Juan.

The arrest was made by a National Guard sergeant who was supervising a group of soldiers who were assigned to enforce the executive curfew order.

After verifying that the 28-year-old detainee was an imposter, the case was consulted with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), an agency that declined to file charges.

According to a police report, the false soldier was released when the National Guard expressed that it had no interest in continuing with the investigation.

One Killed, One in Critical Condition in Levittown Shooting

A 22-year-old man died and another 19-year-old was seriously injured after a shooting broke out at 9:14 last night on the basketball court of the El Naranjal Urbanization, in Levittown.

A call to the 9-1-1 Emergency System reported shots fired, and when agents from the Levittown district arrived on the scene, they came across the body of Julián Enrique Ramos Carbia. The body had several bullet wounds.

Fernando Antonio Galaga Rivera, was also injured with a gunshot wound to the back of his head, and is listed in serious condition to the Río Piedras Medical Center.

 

20 Members Of A Violent Gang Charged For Drug Trafficking And Firearms Violations In Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico

November 19, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On November 9, 2020, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging 20 violent gang members with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and firearms violations, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) Ponce Strike Force investigated the case.

“We are committed to dismantling and removing the threat posed by criminal organizations that insist on flooding our communities with narcotics and violence,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “I want to congratulate the outstanding federal, state, and local law enforcement cooperation that resulted in this successful operation. Our continued collaboration is critical to dismantle these criminal organizations.”

“The Drug Enforcement Administration initiated Project Safeguard to target violent drug trafficking networks like the one taken down this week here in Puerto Rico,” said Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea. “Building on our relationships with law enforcement organizations like the Puerto Rico Police Bureau Strike Force, as well as the FBI, and U.S. Marshal’s Service, DEA is helping to make communities in America and her territories safer because no one should have to live with bullets flying and drug dealing right outside their doors.”

DEA Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge, A.J. Collazo said that “Yesterday’s arrests are a reminder of our message to local drug trafficking organizations that our inter-agency consolidated efforts to track them down and bring them to justice, will continue. Our enforcement operations will prevail, to enhance the safety of our communities and families. We welcome DEA’s Administrator, Timothy Shea to Puerto Rico to share in the success of this operation.”

The indictment alleges that from in or about the year 2015, to the date of the return of the indictment, the drug trafficking organization distributed heroin, cocaine, cocaine base (commonly known as “crack”), and marihuana, within 1,000 feet of the Rincón Taíno and the Pedro Descartes Public Housing Projects (PHP), and other areas in the municipality of Santa Isabel, all for financial gain and profit. Fifteen (15) defendants are facing one charge for possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. All defendants are facing a forfeiture allegation of $3,558,750.

As part of the conspiracy, the members of the drug trafficking gang established a drug point that would move within different areas inside the public housing projects in order to avoid police detection. Some co-conspirators would collect the profits from the drug trafficking sales and travel within the municipality of Santa Isabel and other areas nearby to deliver the proceeds to the leaders of the organization. The defendants had access to different vehicles in order to transport money, narcotics, and firearms. The leaders had final approval authority to impose disciplinary action upon residents of the Rincón Taíno and Pedro Descartes PHP, on members of rival drug trafficking gangs, and on the members of the conspiracy if they disobeyed the rules imposed by the drug trafficking organization. The members of the gang would use force, violence, and intimidation in order to maintain control of the areas in which they operated

FBI ARREST MAN WHO WAS GOING TO PICK UP 13YR OLD TO HAVE SEX

November 12, 2020

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrested a suspect at a time when he was about to pick up an alleged 13-year-old girl from a pharmacy in Carolina and to take her home to have sex.

Christopher Alejandro Medina Santiago, 27, is charged with inciting an alleged minor to have sex. The defendant was unaware that he had contacted an FBI agent.

According to an affidavit that accompanies the complaint, from October 25 until the day of his arrest, November 10, Medina Santiago kept communicating with the alleged minor through the “Skout” and “WhatsApp” applications.

The minor told him on several occasions that she was 13 years old, according to the legal document.

“How I would love for you to run away with me one day. Be good and smart so your parents don't get suspicious, ”reads a portion of the message exchange.

"I would use both of your thighs as if they were my hearing aids and I would become true to their warmth," the accused wrote to the alleged girl.

In another of the messages, he sent him an image of a couple having sex and said "If you have the confidence to run away with me and run the risk of having problems with your parents, the least I would do to reward you for that feat is this activity all night ”.

He asked who he lived with. “I'm saying it for us heh heh. You have less surveillance… Does your mom check you in at dawn? And how is your house? You have me planning over here. I'm crazy for fucking you and licking you all, "said Medina Santiago.

He sent several sexually explicit images to the alleged minor to explain what he would do to her.

“No baby, your first time is not going to be with a condom. Then we use it. But not the first time, ”the accused told him.

On November 10, Medina Santiago arranged to pick up the alleged minor in an Uber from a pharmacy to take her home, located in the Valle Arriba Heights urbanization.

Upon arriving at the scene, he was taken out of the car and arrested by federal agents.

It is alleged that, upon being detained, he said “I knew this was a bad idea. I should not do it".

 

Coast Guard rescues 2 fishermen in the British Virgin Islands, rescues two jet skiers near Luquillo, Puerto Rico

 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard aircrews rescued two men Monday morning from a capsized boat in the British Virgin Islands, and they also rescued a man and a woman from a disabled jet ski Sunday night near Luquillo, Puerto Rico.

In two other separate search and rescue cases during the weekend in Puerto Rico, two swimmers were recovered deceased just off the beach in the Condado area of San Juan, while a 19-year-old male was also recovered deceased just off Vacia Talega Beach near Pinones, Loiza.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of the three persons who were lost to the sea this weekend in Puerto Rico,” said Capt. Gregory Magee, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “I commend the courage of the Good Samaritans who tried to save them, and in one of the cases a Good Samaritan was able to save the life of a 17-year-old girl. I’m equally proud of the close collaboration, coordination and effective response between local partner agencies in Puerto Rico, in the U.S. and in the British Virgin Islands, which saved four other lives in this complex search and rescue environment of the Eastern Caribbean.”

During Monday’s rescue, Coast Guard watchstanders in San Juan, Puerto Rico received notification from a 911 emergency operator in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands at 2:22 a.m. Monday of an overturned 33-foot boat with two people onboard. With the assistance of the 911 operator, watchstanders were able to establish cellular phone communication with the two men, who relayed they had departed from Virgin Gorda Sunday morning and that they were sitting on top of their overturned vessel since 5p.m. Sunday after the vessel capsized.

Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 helicopter, a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Air Station Miami and a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft from Boat Forces Detachment St. Thomas to search, while Virgin Islands Search and Rescue crews also responded with the assistance of a private helicopter. Shortly thereafter, the private helicopter and the Coast Guard Ocean Sentry aircrews located the distressed boaters.

The Coast Guard helicopter, with the assistance of the Coast Guard Ocean Sentry aircrew, arrived on scene with the overturned vessel, and the crew hoisted the two men safely aboard the aircraft. The Coast Guard aircrew transported to the men to the Cyril E. King Airport in St Thomas, where awaiting Customs and Border Protection officers received them.

During Sunday evening’s rescue, Coast Guard watchstanders in San Juan received a call from local 911 Emergency Service operator, who reported a disabled jet ski with two people about a mile offshore near the kiosks area in Luquillo. Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter that arrived on scene and hoisted the two jet skiers to safety; a 20-year-old male and a 24-year-old female. The Coast Guard helicopter transported the jet skiers to the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport in San Juan, where Emergency Medical Service personnel assessed their condition before releasing them to family members.

In a second search and rescue case Sunday afternoon, Coast Guard watchstanders in San Juan received a 911 communication of two people in the water off a beach in the Condado area of San Juan. A 33-foot Special Purpose Craft from Boat Station San Juan responded to the scene. Shortly thereafter, watchstanders received communication that a Good Samaritan using a surfboard recovered the two persons, deceased.

During a search and rescue case Saturday afternoon, Coast Guard watchstanders received a call at 1:39 p.m. Saturday from a man on the beach near Vacia Talega in Piñones, who reported seeing two other persons in the water struggling with the currents.

Coast Guard watchstanders received a second communication the reporting source at 1;48 p.m., who relayed he went into the water with his body board and was able to rescue a 17-year-old female, and that he saw the other person go under water before he was able to reach him.

Coast Guard aircrews aboard an Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Air Station Miami searched alongside Puerto Rico Emergency Management and Puerto Rico Police air and surface crews Saturday and Sunday morning to find the missing person. At approximately 2:45 p.m. Sunday, the crew of Puerto Rico Emergency Management personnel and a Police marine unit located and recovered the body of the 19-year-old male.

AT&T Closes Sale of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Operations to Liberty Latin America

November 3, 2020

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced this week that it has completed the sale of its wireless and wireline operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Liberty Latin America. The transaction includes employees; network assets and spectrum; real estate and leases; customers, including more than 1 million wireless subscribers; and contracts.

AT&T will retain DIRECTV and certain global business customer relationships and FirstNet responsibilities and relationships. Eligible first responders subscribing to FirstNet in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will still have access to the benefits and capabilities — including always-on priority and preemption — of the FirstNet platform.

AT&T is receiving $1.95 billion in cash and plans to use the proceeds to redeem all of the preferred interests in a subsidiary (PR Holdings). The company continues to pursue additional non-core asset monetization opportunities.

PR Woman is Victim of Carjacking in Vega Alta

A driver was the victim of a carjacking robbery reported at around 7:40 a.m. last night on the PR-690 highway, jurisdiction of the Sabana Hoyos neighborhood, in Vega Alta.

According to the preliminary report, the complainant denounced that while she was detained at a stop sign, she was accosted by two individuals dressed in black and armed with long weapons who, by means of threats and intimidation, took away a 2020 white Land Rover Evoque , with License plates JLL-215.

 

Puerto Rico Inmate Charged With Death of Another Inmate

October 28, 2020

PONCE - Héctor Josué Rodríguez Álvarez, who on the night of October 18 allegedly strangled and stuck a toothbrush in the eyes and mouth of his cellmate in the Las Cucharas prison, because he allegedly did not let him sleep, was accused this afternoon of murder in the first degree and use of a knife.

Judge Carlos Quiñones Capacetti set him a bond of $ 2.5 million and ordered that he remain in jail where he is awaiting trial for an attempted murder case that occurred in the Metropolitan Area.

The death was staged in a cell in institution 676 of the Las Cucharas correctional complex and it was reported to the police at 8:40 on Sunday night.

The Police identified the murdered inmate as 36-year-old Norberto Sánchez Coreano, who has a criminal record for cases of damage, illegal appropriation and stalking.

Rodríguez Álvarez, 21, a native of Ponce and living in Villa Palmeras, allegedly admitted that he armed himself with the toothbrush and stuck it in Norberto's mouth and eyes, because he would not let him sleep.

The autopsy revealed that Sánchez Coreano was strangled.

PR Man Dies After Car Being Repaired Fell on Him

October 26, 2020

A 71-year-old man died instantly after a car he was repairing fell on him, in events reported at 10:11 a.m. yesterday, in a residence located on highway PR-182, jurisdiction of the Jacanas Arriba neighborhood , in Yabucoa.

Eusebio Reyes Morales was performing mechanical work under a Mercury Villager Sport when one of the safety towers turned and the car fell on him.

When Municipal Medical Emergency Paramedics arrived on the scene they determined that there was no vital signs. 

Puerto Rico Doctor Pleads Guilty To Social Security Fraud

October 23,2020

SAN JUAN, P.R. – Defendant Americo Oms-Rivera plead guilty before United States District Judge Francisco A. Besosa to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

On August of 2016, a Federal Grand Jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a 16-count indictment charging doctor Americo Oms-Rivera, his secretary Mayte González Muñoz, and Francisco Cabrera Alvarado, a former Social Security Administration (SSA) employee, for fraud in the application process for SSA disability insurance benefits in Puerto Rico. González-Muñoz and Cabrera Alvarado plead guilty on March of 2017.

The SSA is responsible for the implementation of the Disability Insurance Benefits Program. The SSA provides monetary benefits to workers with severe, long-term disabilities, who have worked in SSA covered employment for a required length of time. Spouses and dependent children of disabled workers may also be eligible to receive benefits.

Pursuant to SSA regulations, a claimant must prove to SSA that he or she is disabled by furnishing medical and other evidence with the application. The application and supporting evidence is then evaluated by SSA to determine the individual’s medical impairments and determine the effect of the impairment on the claimant’s ability to work on a sustained basis.

The defendant admitted that starting on March 2009, until on or about October of 2015, the defendant and other co-conspirators knowingly and willfully conspired and agreed together and with each other, to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud the SSA, and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises. For example, Oms Rivera would backdate medical records of patients applying for disability insurance benefits by creating fictitious medical appointments that never took place. This was done to create the appearance of a longer history of medical treatment and for the purpose of tricking or deceiving the SSA into approving disability insurance benefits.

As part of the plea agreement, Oms Rivera will pay SSA $321,000 in restitution, and agreed to the forfeiture of a property at Palmas del Mar, Humacao. In addition, Oms Rivera will surrender his DEA license, and will be excluded from participating in SSA cases, as well as Medicare, Medicaid and all other federal health care programs.

“We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone who seeks to defraud or exploit the federal assistance programs established to help the most vulnerable of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “This defendant abused the trust placed in him as a professional for personal gain. We thank our law enforcement partners for their years-long investigation and commitment to this case.”

“Today’s guilty plea represents years of hard work by OIG investigators as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to gather evidence of this fraud scheme,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General of the Social Security Administration. “Dr. Oms submitted false medical evidence in support of Social Security disability claims, which is a betrayal of the public trust—one we take very seriously. We will continue to pursue those who facilitate Social Security fraud, and I encourage the citizens of Puerto Rico to report allegations to our hotline at oig.ssa.gov.”

Puerto Rico Supreme Court Orders Publication of Salaries in the Judicial Branch

October 23, 2020

The presiding judge of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico (TSPR), Maite Oronoz Rodríguez, ordered the publication of the salaries of all officials of the Judicial Branch.

"Access to information and transparency characterize the Puerto Rico Judicial Branch," read the written statements issued by the press office of the Court Administration Office.

The presiding judge states that the public claim demanding the disclosure of government salaries encourages sound administration and is compatible with the public policy that she has promoted since she took the reins of the Judiciary."

Information on over 4,600 judicial employees will be available soon on the ramajudicial.pr portal , it was stated.

The determination comes after the president of the Senate, Thomas Rivera Schatz, published the list of employees of the High Corps, by order of the Court of San Juan. The House of Representatives is still waiting to publish its list.

The president of the Chamber, Carlos "Johnny" Méndez, as well as other majority leaders have affirmed that the information will be published. The spokesman for the New Progressive Party (PNP) in that body indicated that the list will be published before the general elections on November 3

U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow Announces $3,107,586 In Justice Department Grants To Combat Addiction Crisis

October 17, 2020

San Juan, Puerto Rico – U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow today announced awards of $3,107,586 in Department of Justice grants to fight drug abuse and addiction in the District of Puerto Rico. The grants were awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and are part of more than $341 million going to communities nationwide.

“The addiction crisis has taken an enormous toll on America’s families and communities, eroding public health, threatening public safety and claiming tens of thousands of lives year after year,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Through comprehensive measures taken by this administration, we have been able to curtail the opioid epidemic, but new and powerful drugs are presenting exceptional challenges that we must be prepared to meet. The Justice Department’s substantial investments in enforcement, response, and treatment will help us overcome these challenges and work towards freeing Americans from abuse and addiction.”

Illegal drugs and illicit drug use have claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 Americans since the turn of the century. Powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl are exacting an enormous toll on families and communities, and an emergence in the use of methamphetamines and other psychostimulants is drawing drug traffickers and driving up overdose rates. Three years ago, President Trump declared a Public Health Emergency and initiated a whole-of-government approach dedicated to ending this national tragedy. The Department of Justice has invested unprecedented levels of funding in combating the addiction crisis. The awards announced today build on those earlier investments.

“If we hope to defeat an enemy as powerful, persistent and adaptable as illicit drugs, we must be at least as determined and versatile, focusing our ingenuity and resources on curbing abuse and fighting addiction,” said OJP’s Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “These grants will enable criminal justice officials and substance abuse, mental health and other medical professionals to pool their assets and bring the full weight of our public safety and treatment systems down on this epidemic that has already caused so much harm.”

“Combatting the opioid crisis is a Department of Justice priority,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “Prevention and access to effective treatments for opioid abuse and addiction are critical to fighting this epidemic.”

Funding is made available through OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Institute of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

The following organizations received funding:

Municipality of Bayamón: $890,070 for the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program, which provides financial and technical assistance to state, local and tribal jurisdictions to reduce opioid and stimulant abuse and fatalities, and mitigate impacts on crime victims.

Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services Administration (ASSMCA, for its acronym in Spanish): $2,000,000 for the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which enhances the capacity of regulatory and law enforcement agencies and public health officials to collect and analyze controlled substance prescription data and other scheduled chemical products through a centralized database administered by an authorized agency.

Puerto Rico Department of Correction and Rehabilitation: $217,516 for the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program, which helps states develop and implement residential substance abuse treatment programs within state and local correctional facilities.

 

28 Members Of A Violent Gang Charged For Drug Trafficking And Firearms Violations In Guayama, Puerto Rico

OCTOBER 16, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging 28 violent gang members with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and firearms violations, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), Guayama Strike Force investigated the case.

The indictment alleges that from 2015 to the date of the return of the indictment, the drug trafficking organization distributed heroin, cocaine, cocaine base (commonly known as “crack”), marihuana, and Oxycodone (Percocet) within 1,000 feet of the Luis Pales Matos Public Housing Project and other areas in the municipality of Guayama, all for financial gain and profit. Ten defendants are facing one charge of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

As part of the conspiracy, the members of the drug trafficking gang established a drug point that would move within different areas inside the public housing project in order to avoid police detection. Some co-conspirators would travel to the municipality of Bayamón to pick up the narcotics that they would sell in Guayama and travel back to deliver the proceeds. The defendants had access to different vehicles in order to transport money, narcotics, and firearms. The leaders had final approval authority as to disciplinary action to be imposed upon members of rival drug trafficking gangs, and on the members of the conspiracy should they disobey the rules imposed by the drug trafficking organization. The members of the gang would use force, violence, and intimidation in order to maintain control of the areas in which they operated. The defendants indicted are:

Caleb Josué Toro-Negrón, a/k/a “Calembo”, Martín López-Torres, a/k/a “Barba”, David Nieves-Negrón, a/k/a “Frances”, Reinaldo Pérez-Marrero, a/k/a “Coco”,Luis G. Ortiz-Marrero, a/k/a “Muri”, Jesús E. González-Morales, a/k/a “Chino, Monte Hatillo”, Jael G. Rodríguez-Colón Pedro J. Rivera-Jiménez, a/k/a “Pedrito,Hiram Pagán-Rabri, a/k/a “Pini”, Anthony O. Ramos-Sanabria, a/k/a “Lucero” Elisaul Medina-La Santa, a/k/a “Panda”, Josniel M. Pérez-Ayala,Hilda E. Santell-Santiago,Michael A. Gutiérrez-Rodríguez, Ted William Rosario-Delgado, Miguel A. Santana-Negrón, a/k/a “Potro”,Anthony Morales-Vargas, a/k/a “Topo”, Richard Rodríguez-Figueroa, a/k/a “Bakery” Kevin Contreras, a/k/a “NBA”, Héctor Omar Fontanez-Sanabria, a/k/a “Zombie/Omar”,Carlos J. Rodríguez-Vélez, a/k/a “Carlos Blunt”, Héctor H. Valentín-Pagán, a/k/a “Gaby Tatuaje”, José R. Vargas-Rivera Angelica M. Santana-Negrón, a/k/a “Angie”,Jacqueline Álvarez-Rodríguez, a/k/a “Jacky”, Sheila Bonilla-Figueroa, a/k/a “La Gringa”, Jadiel Rodríguez-Colón, a/k/a “Checko”, and Ángel Sánchez-Morales.

“This indictment and arrests today are a reflection of our resolve to combat drug trafficking and violent crime,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We will continue to investigate these criminal organizations with our state and federal law enforcement partners, and send a clear message that drug trafficking will not be tolerated in our neighborhoods.”

A.J. Collazo, DEA Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge, stated that: “The dismantling of this violent organization known as “LOS MENORES,” allows the residents of the Luis Pales Matos Public Housing Project to live in a safe community, especially during these times in which the effects of the ongoing Pandemic have made life challenging and difficult for us all. DEA is certain that with today’s arrests we have saved many lives that would have ended in tragedy. We won’t let our guard down. We will prevail.”

Coast Guard transfers 6.8 million in seized cocaine, 4 suspected smugglers to federal agents in San Juan, Puerto Rico

October 15, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Venturous (WMEC-625) transferred custody of four suspected smugglers and 246 kilograms of seized cocaine to federal law enforcement authorities at Sector San Juan Thursday, following the interdiction of a drug smuggling go-fast vessel in the Caribbean Sea.

The interdiction was the result of multi-agency efforts in support of U.S. Southern Command's enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution for this case.

The estimated wholesale value of the seized drug shipment is more than $6.8 million.

“Successful outcomes as in this case are a testament to the strong relationships between the Coast Guard and participating partner agency units who share an unwavering resolve to stopping drug smuggling vessels at sea,” said Lt. Andrew Russo, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez (WPC-1114) commanding officer. “The crew of the Heriberto Hernandez is proud to help safeguard the Caribbean and our nation’s southernmost maritime border to protect our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against this threat.”

The bust occurred during the evening hours of Oct. 5 and early morning hours of Oct. 6, 2020, after the aircrew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air Marine Operations aircraft detected a suspicious panga style 35-foot go-fast vessel in Caribbean Sea waters near the Dominican Republic. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, which relieved the CBP aircraft and maintained aerial coverage of the go-fast throughout the interdiction.

The cutter Heriberto Hernandez responded to the sighting and interdicted the go-fast vessel with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat. During the interdiction, the Coast Guard boarding team seized eight bales of suspected contraband, which tested positive for cocaine.

The crew of the cutter Heriberto Hernandez embarked four men from the go-fast, two Venezuelan, a Colombian and a Dominican Republic national, along with the seized contraband. The cutter Venturous transported the suspected smugglers and contraband to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they were transferred to awaiting Caribbean Corridor Strike Force federal law enforcement agents.

12 murders reported in the weekend

October 12, 2029

An individual was shot to death at mid-morning on Monday while driving a car through the busy PR-3 at the intersection of the entrance to El Verde in Ro Grande.  The wave of violence  has claimed 12 lives in one of the  bloodiest weekends in recent years.

After the shooting that occurred at 10:30 in the morning of the Monday holiday, the lanes in the direction of Fajardo to Río Grande were closed. Two ambulances arrived at the scene, but the victim lay lifeless in the driver's seat of a black Mitsubishi.

It is believed that the victim was the son of a former agent of the Traffic Bureau and was preliminarily identified as Jorge Dávila. In the car, the agents allegedly seized a pistol and it was being investigated whether an individual who arrived injured at a hospital was traveling in the Mitsubishi.

The shooting began on PR-3 in the jurisdiction of Luquillo.

There have been 399 murders since the beginning of 2020, a reduction of 86 compared to last year.

At 2:11 a.m. on Monday, another man was beaten to death on Galileo Street, in the Jardines Metropolitanos urbanization in Río Piedras.

The summary of murders offered by officials establishes that the first violent death of the weekend occurred at 11:42 a.m. on Friday at the intersection of PR-9944 and exit 7 of the PR-30 highway in Gurabo.

he victim was identified as Abimael García Trinidad, 26, a resident of Gurabo, who was shot while driving a Ford F-150 pickup and died shortly after while receiving care at a hospital in Caguas.

At 2:04 pm on Friday, a shooting was staged in the Abra San Francisco sector in Arecibo, in which Juan Luis Vega Allende, 24, a resident of Hatillo, died on the spot. Bryan José Ríos Valentín, 27, from Hatillo, who was injured, died hours later at the Río Piedras Medical Center.

The violence moved to Mayagüez, where at 5:17 pm on Friday and in an apartment with a tola door on highway 104 km 0.7 inside the Algarrobo neighborhood, Eduardo Francisco Sanjurjo Ortiz, 31 years old, was shot dead.

Police versions indicate that the hitmen tried to kill Freddy Charón Valentín, nicknamed Baby Boy, who was the stepfather of the girl Roselyn Rodríguez Enríquez who was with her mother Yesenia Enríquez when they were fatally hit by a burst of gunfire on the night of last December 21 May in Añasco.

Baby Boy is out on bail with an electronic shackle for a weapons case and upon hearing the shots fled the scene.

The seventh massacre of 2020 took place at 9:10 pm on Friday night on the court and community center of the Glenview Gardens Urbanization, in Ponce.

Among the victims was Robert Junior Marcucci Blanco, known as Piloto, who arrived at the scene masked. The 22-year-old pilot was a suspect in several murders, including that of an 11-year-old boy.

The other victims were identified as Abraham Torres Sanjurjo, 24; Giovanni Rivera Rodríguez, 39, and Joshua I. Fonseca Rivera, 17. The injured were identified as Jonathan Rodríguez Collazo, 24, and Christian Fonseca Rivera, 25.

At 6:17 pm on Saturday, on Highway 835, Mamey I neighborhood, Cuesta Los Castro, in Guaynabo, Miguel A. Torres Murphy, 33, was shot to death, who was driving a Ford bus. He was transported by municipal paramedics to the Río Piedras Medical Center where he died of his injuries.

At 1:14 in the morning on Sunday, gunmen from a car opened fire in front of a residence on the Marcelino Burgos road in the Santa Rosa I neighborhood, in Guaynabo, killing in the act Brenda Báez Torres, 38 years old, a neighbor of the place.

Bryan Flores Lugo and Jaletzy Candelario Camacho were injured in the shooting.

Another death that was not counted as murder occurred on Sunday afternoon. According to the Police report, at 4:09 on Sunday afternoon on the PR-185 highway, kilometer 3.6 in a gasoline garage in Canóvanas, the body of José R. Batista Rivera, who was 59 years old, was found lying on the pavement. There were no signs of violence. Also at a short distance, José Díaz Ortiz, 60 years old, was transported to the UPR hospital in Carolina in delicate condition.

Coast Guard offloads $48 million in cocaine, disembarks 6 suspected smugglers in Puerto Rico, following 2 interdictions in the Caribbean Sea

October 4, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez (WPC-1114) offloaded approximately 1,981 kilograms of cocaine, 28 kilograms of amphetamines and six suspected smugglers at Sector San Juan Friday, following two separate interdictions in the Caribbean Sea.

The seized illegal narcotics have a wholesale value of more than $48 million.

The interdictions are the result of multi-agency and international partnership efforts in support of U.S. Southern Command's enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution for the two cases.

“The Coast Guard is uniquely equipped to support the U.S. Navy and partner nation navies and coast guards in the interdiction of illicit drugs,” said Rear Adm. Eric C. Jones, Seventh Coast Guard District commander. “Our relationships with nations across the Caribbean basin, along with our law enforcement authorities, enable us to provide essential support to the mission against international criminal networks attempting to smuggle people and drugs into the U.S. We strive to continue building these relationships, further enabling our essential missions that safeguard the American people and our nation’s vital maritime commerce.”

“We continue to work with federal and state law enforcement agencies, along with our partners from the Royal Netherlands and United Kingdom navies, against drug traffickers in our area,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “These seizures mark two more successful operations in our fight against criminal organizations attempting to use our territories as a hub for their illegal operations.”

The most recent interdiction occurred Monday, Sept. 28. During a routine patrol of the RFA Argus, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship from the United Kingdom, the ship’s helicopter crew observed a suspect go-fast vessel with multiple packages and barrels of fuel onboard. The HNLMS Groningen, a Holland-class offshore patrol vessel from the Royal Netherlands Navy that was operating nearby with a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment onboard, responded and interdicted the go-fast with the assistance of the ship’s surface asset.

The crew of the HNLMS Groningen embarked three smugglers; a Colombian, a Venezuelan and a Dominican Republic national from the go-fast. They also located and recovered aboard the go-fast 49 bales that weighed 1,721 kilograms and tested positive for cocaine, and one package that weighed 28 kilograms and tested positive for amphetamines.

The second interdiction occurred Sept. 24, after the aircrew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious 35-foot go-fast vessel transiting without the use of navigational lights. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft that relieved the first aircraft and maintained aerial coverage of the go-fast.

The cutter Heriberto Hernandez responded to the sighting and interdicted the go-fast with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat and the Coast Guard aircrew. The Coast Guard boarding team embarked the three men, who claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals, along with 13 bales of suspected contraband that were located under a blue tarp aboard the go-fast. The seized contraband tested positive for cocaine and weighed 260 kilograms.

The cutter Heriberto Hernandez transported the seized contraband and suspected smugglers from both cases to Sector San Juan, where awaiting federal law enforcement agencies received custody.

Suspect in kidnapping of a minor arrested in Cupey

September 24, 2020

Puerto Rico Police today arrested a man wanted for kidnapping a teenager. 

The man is also a suspect in the disappearance of almost 20 women in the last nine months.

The arrest was carried out in a wooded area of ​​Trujillo Alto, where the man suspected of kidnapping the 16-year-old minor had hidden on Wednesday.

The individual was identified as Pedro Cruz Negrón, 38, who was detected by agents from to the San Juan Intelligence Division on the property of the Villas del Sol condominium in Trujillo Alto.

Cruz Negrón allegedly restricted the minor's freedom through intimidation with a firearm.

 The teenager was released and is in good health.

According to the authorities, 18 women are missing, in cases reported in the last nine months.

PR MAN DROWNS IN ISLA VERDE BEACH

September 10, 2020

A man drowned at around 7:00 am today, in the area of ​​the beach located on Tartak Street on Isla Verde Avenue, in Carolina.

According to the Police, the death of a person believed to be a bather was reported in the aforementioned place.

Medical Emergency Personnel responded the call for help together with agents from the barracks in the Tourist Zone.

Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Police, Border Patrol search for 2 persons from sunken boat near Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

September 8, 2020.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard air and surface crews along with Puerto Rico Police and Ramey Station Border Patrol units are searching by air, land and sea Tuesday for possibly two persons from a capsized sunken boat near Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The identity and nationality of the occupants of the vessel is undetermined at this time, while Coast Guard watchstanders have received no reports of missing or overdue boaters in the area.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received initial notification at 4:17 a.m. Tuesday from Ramey Border Patrol, reporting a suspect illegal voyage, offshore from Aguadilla. Watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered (WPC-1104) to interdict the vessel, while a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit also responded.

Shortly thereafter, the Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit arrived on scene with a makeshift boat that was traveling erratically in circles, between 10 to 15 knots, with no passengers onboard. The makeshift vessel eventually capsized and sank.

Coast Guard repatriates 20 of 21 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following interdiction near Puerto Rico

September 3, 2020.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered (WPC-1104) repatriated 20 of 21 migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Wednesday, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage in the Mona Passage west of Puerto Rico.

The remaining migrant was turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents to face possible criminal immigration and migrant smuggling charges in Puerto Rico. The interdiction is the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“The crew of the cutter Robert Yered’s response led to a swift interdiction and safe recovery of all the migrants in this case,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “The danger migrants face during this and mostly all attempted illegal voyages is quite real, especially when they trust their safety to ruthless smugglers who embark them aboard grossly overloaded and unseaworthy vessels with little or no lifesaving equipment aboard. These vessels are known for taking on water throughout the entire voyage and could easily capsize at any given moment.”

While on a routine patrol Tuesday morning, the crew of the cutter Robert Yered detected and interdicted an illegal migrant voyage, approximately 14 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The migrant group was traveling aboard a 28-foot makeshift boat that was transporting 20 men and a woman, who claimed to all be Dominican Republic nationals. The crew of cutter Robert Yered safely embarked the migrants for safety of life at sea concerns, while a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen provided rescue support overhead.

After embarking all migrants, the crew conducted biometrics processing for the group, which were analyzed by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The records checks revealed a criminal and immigration history for one migrant, who is under further investigation and faces federal prosecution.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. There were no migrants in this case reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Cutter Robert Yered transported the remaining migrants to Dominican Republic territorial waters off Punta Cana, where the transfer and repatriation of the migrants to Dominican Republic navy authorities was completed.

FEMA Announces Permanent Federal Coordinator for Recovery Operations in Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands

September 2, 2020

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – Today, FEMA announced that Mr. José G. Baquero Tirado, Esq. will serve as Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, or FDRC, for disaster recovery operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mr. Baquero will permanently lead disaster recovery coordination and collaboration between the federal interagency and the Government of Puerto Rico, the private sector and voluntary, faith-based and community organizations.

“Our partnership over the last year with mayors, COR3 and the Government of Puerto Rico has paved the way for the island’s long-term recovery. Mr. Baquero’s permanent appointment is another indicator that our mission on the island is on track and that the operation is ready for the road ahead,” said the current Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo.

For the past 15 years, Mr. Baquero led the Transportation Security Administration office for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Throughout his career he has also worked as a private attorney, and at the local and federal government level. Mr. Baquero is born and raised in Puerto Rico and is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico School of Law.

For his part, Mr. Baquero added that “it is a privilege to serve my Island in this capacity. I look forward to being part of this historic recovery mission and to carry on with the outstanding work done by Mr. Amparo and the team as our efforts to help rebuild for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico continue.”

Both Mr. Amparo and Mr. Baquero will work together in the coming weeks to ensure an effective transition of duties.

Mr. Amparo returns to support FEMA’s mission in Washington, D.C. His role on the island was pivotal in leading the disaster recovery efforts for Hurricane María as well as the response missions for the earthquakes, COVID-19 pandemic and Tropical Storms Isaías and Laura.

To date, over $7.2 billion has been obligated under FEMA’s Public Assistance program for costs related to hurricanes Irma and María, including projects to help rebuild infrastructure throughout Puerto Rico.

Pueto Rico's Congress Woman Tests Positive for COVID 19

August 24, 2020

The resident commissioner in Washington, Jenniffer González Colón, announced that she tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).

“Today, as I told you, I took the Covid test and unfortunately I tested positive. This is obviously not something that one can control, but it can prevent other people from having it, "she said in a video on her Facebook account.

The resident commissioner attributed her positive result to the campaign events of Pedro Pierluisi's committee that she attended last Sunday. In the video, she assured that she has no symptoms associated with the virus.

“I think this is a sadly learned lesson, for all of us to do our part. I urge you not to remove your mask, "she indicated, while urging the people who were in contact with her to undergo the test.

Other positives in the PNP are the vice president of the Chamber, José "Pichy" Torres Zamora; the electoral representative of Pedro Pierluisi's campaign committee, Edwin Mundo; and Senators William Villafañe, Luis Berdiel and Carmelo Ríos. Caridad Pierluisi, Pierluisi's sister and campaign manager, also tested positive. The former secretary general of the PNP and former adviser in Municipal Affairs of La Fortaleza, Omar Negrón, is in intensive care.

 

PR Electoral Commissioner Resigns Following the Primaries Double Session

August 19, 200.

The electoral commissioner of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Lind Orlando Merle, resigned his position, effective immediately.

Through written statements, he informed that he had to make the decision is given, since it is a position of trust, and to make it available to the candidate for governor Carlos "Charlie" Delgado Altieri.

"In consideration of the nature and classification of confidence of the position of electoral commissioner of the PPD, I informed the president of the Popular Democratic Party, Carlos Delgado Altieri, my determination to make the position I hold available to him. The resignation is effective immediately" , he explained.

This determination is also based on "not delaying the work plan of the new president."

 He assumed office on On May 15, 2019.

Under his tenure as commissioner, for the first time in the island's history, the primaries could not be carried out properly. It had to be divided into two Sundays due to problems with the distribution of materials.

The now ex-commissioner thanked him for the trust placed in him.

"I treasure the trust given by President Aníbal José Torres Torres and the Governing Board of our party, for allowing me to occupy the position. I also thank, with deep sincerity, the collaboration, support and sense of commitment of all those who were part of our electoral team, "he stressed, making himself available to the community.

Puerto Rico lawmaker accused of inflating employee’s salary, receiving kickbacks; husband and son among arrested

August 19, 2020

SAN JUAN— The FBI arrested María Milagros “Tata” Charbonier, a representative-at-large for the New Progressive Party (NPP), Monday morning alongside three other people, including her husband, Orlando Montes, and son Orlando Gabriel Montes-Charbonier, for participating in an illegal kickback scheme in which the Puerto Rico lawmaker allegedly stole $100,000 in state funds.

 

As detailed in a grand jury indictment, filed Aug. 7, Charbonier illegally inflated the salary of one of her employees, Frances Acevedo, by $2,900 a month, under the condition that she pay a commission of $1,000 to $1,500 a month to Charbonier, her husband and adult son.

Through the alleged scheme, which began in September 2017, Acevedo, who is also among those arrested, paid Charbonier either with cash or through ATH Móvil, a money-transferring mobile application.

In all, the indictment lists 13 charges ranging from theft of public funds, bribery and kickbacks to honest services wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. One last charge, obstruction of justice, alleges that Charbonier—who heads the Ethics committee at the House of Representatives—deleted messages from the chat application Whatsapp as soon as she found out about the FBI probe.

A popular yet divisive figure in the NPP, Charbonier gained local fame and plenty of critics due to her religion-heavy rhetoric and far-right positions on LGBTQ rights. Most recently, she co-authored the island’s new civil code, a document that according to some observers scaled back some rights for women and disenfranchised communities.

House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Núñez reportedly said that despite the presumption of innocence, he has asked the disgraced lawmaker to resign. Charbonier paid her $25,000 bail for her release.

Although Charbonier consistently ranked among the top vote-getters during previous elections, her political future was first thrown in doubt last month, when federal agents visited her house in Río Grande and confiscated her personal cellphone.

At the time, Charbonier downplayed the incident, saying that agents had assured her that she was not the target of any investigation. However, in the primaries that ended Sunday, Charbonier received the fewest votes out of any pre-candidate for representative-at-large under the NPP, with many observers pointing at the FBI probe as the main reason for her defeat.

Five Puerto Rico Police Precints Closed & 343 Agents in Quarantine for COVID19

August 14, 2020

The Commissioner of the Police Bureau, Henry Escalera Rivera, reported that at the moment five precints are closed as a preventive measure to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

These are: Monte Hatillo; Preventive Command of San Juan; Real Time Center; FURA-Maritime of Cabo Rojo and Barranquitas.

In addition, he reported that 343 agents are isolated as a preventive measure. Since the emergency arose, 2,780 officers have been reinstated in their duties. In total,

54 agents have reported positive results for Covid-19, according to the tests ordered and certified by Dr. María Del Carmen Calderón.

"Agents assigned to neighboring barracks have been appointed to those affected to reinforce preventive patrolling and deal with complaints that are reported. A decontamination and deep cleaning process is being carried out in all barracks and closed units. The opening of the facilities will be announced soon. , according to the recommendation of the medical staff ", he pointed out.

Police Found Gun in Reggaeton Singer, Tito El Bambino's Four Wheeler

August 13, 2020

Reggaeton singer Efraín D. Fines Nevárez, artistically known as Tito El Bambino received an order from the Prosecutor's Office this afternoon to undergo a DNA test to be compared with genetic material found in a pistol that was found hidden in an oil pot on a Four Wheeler that was discovered by traffic agents last weekend.

Tito El Bambino appeared before Judge Fernando Abreu, who determined cause in a complaint for driving a Yamaha 350 Banshee all-terrain vehicle on public roads on a highway behind the Carolina Court.

The vehicle was examined yesterday, and officers found a pot of oil that caught their attention because of its weight and that had been cut to hide a pistol.

The weapon was seized and the prosecutor Carrión tries to determine if it has the DNA of the famous artist.

PR Primary Suspended Partially Due to Lack of Ballots

August 9,2020

The issue with the chaos in the failed primary elections in Puerto Rico has transcended internationally, with The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Associated Press being just some of the media abroad that have reviewed the controversial event.

From the early hours, various schools and voting centers reported the delay of the ballots. The ballots, for some of these places, never came.

This event, which caused the claim by the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) and the New Progressive Party (PNP) culminated in the postponement, until next Sunday, of the election event. 

"It is expected that the primaries for voting centers that had not received ballots in the early afternoon will be rescheduled, while voting will continue elsewhere," The Washington Post reported early, prior to the official announcement issued by the Commission. State of Elections (CEE).

Similarly, the US media ABC News highlighted that the lack of ballots had caused "chaos" on the island. The Associated Press also published several news items reporting the controversy.

Early in the evening, the electoral event was also a topic of discussion on social media. Specifically, it became a trend on the Twitter platform.

Meanwhile, the call for the resignation of the president of the EEC, Juan Dávila, also increased among the political figures of the PNP and PPD.
However, Dávila reiterated on several occasions that he would not resign his position in the midst of this situation, but would consider doing so once the primary process is completed.

FEMA Approves Funding for 1,624 Small Permanent Projects in Puerto Rico

August 8, 2020.

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – Over the course of 2020, FEMA and Puerto Rico’s Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency, or COR3, approved funding for 1,624 small permanent work projects that will help rebuild communities affected by Hurricane María. The repairs represented under this particular group of projects total $65 million in grants, which will have a direct economic impact on the island. A record 2,374 permanent work projects have been approved in the first seven months of the year.

In an effort to expedite project awards and move recovery forward, FEMA and COR3 prioritized sites whose repair estimates were $123,100 or less. This initiative proved to be successful for municipalities across the island – 93 percent of the small permanent work projects obligated are to address damage to roads, community recreational areas, sports centers and other key municipal areas.  

“Small projects, along with large infrastructure sites, make up a central aspect of the island’s recovery. We are committed to supporting the Government of Puerto Rico and COR3 in helping repair smaller sites that are the essence of Puerto Rican communities,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo. 

For his part, the mayor of Quebradillas, Heriberto Vélez Vélez, mentioned the importance of a $75,000 grant to repave and reinforce the bridge and Street #18 of the San José neighborhood, which provides access to 10 families. “This project complements other projects such as the panoramic street and Puerto Hermina, so its impact amounts to approximately 5,000 families. This bridge is also used for tourism purposes, so we have definitely begun to make the necessary repairs to certain areas that were severely affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said the mayor.
Similarly, the municipality of Cataño benefited from this strategic work plan with an award of over $44,000 to repair its town square. This space lends itself to a number of cultural activities, as well as a meeting place for residents who visit to play dominoes.

“We have a beautiful seafront and rebuilding the town square will have immense benefits as it adds to our tourist attractions — one of our municipality’s strengths. Therefore, it is very important to repair it and make it available to the public in the best possible conditions,” said the mayor of Cataño, Felix “El Cano” Delgado Montalvo.

In addition, some 380 residents of the Algarrobo neighborhood in Aibonito will benefit from improvements to their basketball court and baseball park with the help of over $93,000 in federal funds. The repairs include the replacement of fences and lighting in the area, which will provide more safety for the enjoyment of residents of all ages.

“Small reconstruction projects are what have a direct and more immediate impact on the communities in the municipalities. Due to the initiatives of COR3 and FEMA to advance these projects, the obligations of this group have increased in the past months and are equally important as the larger projects. We will continue working to maintain the steady pace of the recovery that Puerto Rico needs,” said COR3 Director, Ottmar Chávez. 

FEMA continues working alongside the Government of Puerto Rico and COR3 to strategize the island’s recovery projects. To date, nearly $7.2 billion has been approved for Puerto Rico under FEMA’s Public Assistance program.

Coast Guard offloads $12 million in cocaine in San Juan, Puerto Rico, following interdiction of drug smuggling go-fast in the Caribbean Sea

August 7,2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard transferred custody of two suspected smugglers and 430 kilograms of seized cocaine to federal law enforcement authorities at Sector San Juan Wednesday, following the interdiction of a drug smuggling go-fast in the Caribbean Sea.

The interdiction was the result of multi-agency efforts in support of U.S. Southern Command's enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution for this case.

The estimated wholesale value of the seized drug shipment is more than $12 million.

“The positive outcome in this case is a reflection of the professionalism and unwavering resolve of the Richard Dixon crew and of our fellow Coastguardsmen and federal law enforcement partners involved in this case,” said Lt. Matthew Monahan, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon (WPC-1113) commanding officer. “Our collective efforts resulted in preventing 430 kilograms of cocaine from reaching the streets and the apprehension of two smugglers who will now have their day in court.”

The interdiction occurred Sunday afternoon following the detection of a suspicious 30-foot go-fast vessel, with two people aboard, by the crew of a patrolling a U.S. maritime patrol aircraft.

The cutter Richard Dixon responded to the sighting and interdicted the go-fast with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat. Cutter Richard Dixon’s boarding team located 21 bales of suspected contraband aboard the go-fast that the smugglers attempted to conceal with a blue tarp. The boarding team placed the two men in custody and embarked them aboard the cutter along with the seized contraband.

The seized cocaine, destined for the United States, and two detainees were later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier (WPB-1115) and transported to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where CCSF federal law enforcement agents received custody.

CBP Confiscates 600 Hacked AirPods

August 6,2020

U.S. Customs Field and Border Protection (CBP) operations agents in San Juan seized 600 units of counterfeit Apple AirPods imported into Puerto Rico from Hong Kong, via an air courier service.

CBP indicated that if the products were genuine, the manufacturer's estimated suggested retail price of the seized goods would have been approximately $ 119,400.

During June, the security agency confiscated 560 fake AirPods from a shipment shipped from Hong Kong.

"Importers must use reasonable care when purchasing products from international suppliers to resell them in the territory of the United States," said Leida Colón, deputy director of Field Operations for Commerce at CBP. She added that "the extremely low price is usually a false brand indicator and the product may not have all the features that the customer expects."

The majority of seizures of counterfeit products at the San Juan Field Office are jewelry, footwear, clothing, and prescription drugs.
The main countries of origin for most of these items are Hong Kong and China.

The San Juan Field Office has also confiscated Nintendo mini consoles, jewelry and watches, as well as 844 counterfeit alloy rings.

Coast Guard air and surface rescue crews assist distressed cargo ship M/V Island Express off San Juan, Puerto Rico

July 30, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard air and surface rescue crews at Sector San Juan responded and assisted the distressed M/V Island Express Wednesday afternoon, after the ship started taking on water when it departed the Port of San Juan for storm avoidance in anticipation of Tropical Cyclone 9.

The M/V Island Express, a Cyprus flagged 412-foot ro-ro cargo ship, and its 18-man crew is now safely moored in San Juan Harbor.

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a Mayday VHF radio transmission on Channel 16 from the Captain of the M/V Island Express, who reported that there was a possible broken pipe in the engine room and that approximately 75% of the bilges were full of water.

Watchstanders directed the launch of two 33-foot small boats and a 45-foot Response Boat Medium from Station San Juan that got underway and arrived on scene with the M/V Island Express. A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter also arrived on scene, and the aircrew was able to maintain communications with the Coast Guard boat crews as they escorted the cargo ship in eight to 10 foot seas back to the safety of the port.

“Despite the impending tropical storm and all Station San Juan small boats securely out of the water for an incoming storm, our boat crews responded immediately to launch two 33-foot small boats from their trailers and the 45-foot Response Boat Medium utilizing the mobile boat hoist” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Lance Wiser, Station San Juan officer in charge. “The teamwork and training of Station operators allowed these evolutions to safely take place simultaneously which led to all three assets arriving on scene with the distressed vessel within 45 minutes. The sea conditions on scene were pushing the parameters of the small boats but the crews endured and the distressed vessel was escorted safety into the harbor.”

Meanwhile, Sector San Juan Prevention personnel coordinated with the San Juan Bay Pilots and two Puerto Rico Towing tugboats that rendezvoused with the M/V Island Express at the entrance of San Juan Harbor. The tugboats escorted the M/V Island Express to Pier 15, where the vessel safely moored and the crew was able to finalize dewatering of the bilge spaces.

 

Coast Guard offloads $38.5 million in cocaine in San Juan, Puerto Rico, following disruption of smuggling go-fast in the Caribbean Sea

July 23, 2020.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The crew of the Coast Guard Heriberto Hernandez (WPC-1114) offloaded approximately 1,375 kilograms of cocaine at Sector San Juan, following the disruption of a drug smuggling go-fast in the Caribbean Sea.

The seized drug shipment is estimated to have a wholesale value of more than $38.5 million.

The interdiction was the result of multi-agency efforts in support of U.S. Southern Command's enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere, and during Operation CASTNET II, in coordination with Joint Task Force East (JTF-E).

“I’m extremely proud of my crew as well as the performance and reliability of the Coast Guard fast response cutter,” said Lt. Russo, cutter Heriberto Hernandez commanding officer. “The crew’s proficiency in using all of the cutter’s systems and capabilities throughout our patrol, gave us the ability to effectively operate deep inside the Caribbean Sea which led to this successful outcome and prevented over a ton of cocaine from ever reaching the streets.”

The disruption and seizure occurred during a patrol the afternoon of July 16, 2020, when the crew of the cutter Heriberto Hernandez came upon a suspect go-fast vessel.

As the cutter Heriberto Hernandez closed-in to interdict the go-fast, the smugglers detected the cutter’s presence and began to jettison multiple bales of suspected contraband while fleeing the area at high speed. The crew of the Heriberto Hernandez conducted a thorough sweep of the area where the jettison occurred, and they were able to recover 55 bales of suspected contraband.

The recovered bales tested positive for cocaine. The cutter Heriberto Hernandez transported the seized contraband to Sector San Juan, where it was received by awaiting federal law enforcement agents in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cutter Heriberto Hernandez is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard Repatriates 58 Migrants to the Dominican Republic, Following the Interdiction of 3 Illegal Voyages in the Mona Passage

July 18, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge (WPB-1102) repatriated 58 migrants to the Dominican Republic Navy Friday afternoon, following the interdiction of three separate illegal voyages Thursday in the Mona Passage off the west coast of Puerto Rico.

The interdicted migrants were reported to be Dominican Republic nationals.

The multi-agency interdictions are the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“I’m proud of my crew and the collaboration between the interdicting agencies involved in these cases, they ensured the safety of all 58 migrants in a fluid and dynamic environment in which three illegal voyages were interdicted within hours of each other,” said Lt. Jane Sarnecky, cutter Richard Etheridge commanding officer. “If you are considering taking part in an illegal voyage do not take to the sea, you are risking your life and the lives of everyone else aboard. The Mona Passage is dangerous and unforgiving, especially in the case of grossly overloaded makeshift and unseaworthy boats with no lifesaving equipment aboard.”

The first illegal voyage was detected Thursday afternoon by the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, approximately 38 nautical miles northwest of Rincón, Puerto Rico. Cutter Richard Etheridge diverted to the scene, where the crew stopped the 30-foot makeshift boat and embarked the 26 men and 8 women, who were aboard.

The second migrant voyage was interdicted Thursday night by the crew of a patrolling Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit, just off the coast of Aguada, Puerto Rico. Cutter Richard Etheridge arrived on scene with the 26-foot migrant boat and the crew embarked the 11 migrants, 8 men and three women, from the makeshift vessel.

The third illegal voyage was interdicted late Thursday night by a the crew of a Customs and Border Protection maritime unit, approximately five nautical miles northeast of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. Cutter Richard Etheridge arrived on scene with the 22-foot migrant boat and the crew embarked the 13 migrants, 10 men and 3 women, who were brought aboard the cutter.

Cutter Richard Etheridge transported the 58 migrants from all three cases to Dominican Republic territorial waters, where they were repatriated to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel near Punta Cana..

nce aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with Personal Protective Equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.

 

Puerto Rico Closes Bars, Movie Theaters, Casinos Amid Pandemic

July 17, 2020

Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez is re-closing businesses including bars, movie theaters and casinos as Covid-19 cases mount.

Speaking Thursday in an address to the island, she also said she is extending a 10 p.m. curfew, rolling back restaurant capacity limits to 50% and banning social groups and sunbathers from the island’s beaches.

Earlier in the pandemic, Vazquez implemented some of the U.S.’s most drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus, and she had just begun to officially welcome tourists back this week. But cases and hospitalizations began spiking recently, prompting renewed restrictions for the island’s long-struggling economy

“These measures are very difficult for us to take because we know there is a part of the economy that has been hurt and will be hurt by these new measures,” she said. “But as I’ve said before, the most important thing is everyone’s life and the safety of our people.”

azquez said she had asked the Federal Aviation Administration to limit incoming flights from Florida and Texas, two centers of the pandemic. However, a similar request early on in the outbreak was rejected by the federal government.

Vazquez also said she was allocating $100 million for municipalities and another $150 million for hospitals on the island.

Puerto Rico officially reopened to tourists on Wednesday, requiring incoming travelers to present a negative Covid-19 test or isolate themselves for 14 days. On Thursday, Vazquez suggested that might have been premature. She said only those with pressing needs on the island should travel here. And she said the commonwealth would not begin advertising itself as a tourism destination until Aug. 15.

Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources crews rescue 3 boaters near “Caja de Muertos” Island, Puerto Rico

July 15, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue watchstanders at Sector San Juan and the crew of a Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DPNER) marine unit rescued three boaters aboard a disabled recreational vessel Sunday near “Caja de Muertos” Island off Salinas, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a mayday VHF Channel 16 marine radio transmission from the Captain of the 23-foot recreational vessel Serenity at approximately 11 a.m. Sunday, stating the vessel was disabled with three people aboard near “Caja de Muertos” Island.

The crew of a Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources marine unit, who happened to also hear the mayday call, contacted Coast Guard watchstanders to let them know they were responding. Shortly thereafter, the DPNER marine unit arrived on scene with the disabled vessel and the crew identified that one of the passengers was suffering from acute sea sickness. They quickly embarked the ill passenger and transported him to Salinas, where he was received and assisted by awaiting Emergency Medical Service personnel. The DPNER crew immediately returned to the location of the Serenity and towed the disabled vessel into Salinas, bringing the other two passengers to safety.

“This case is yet another example of seamless inter-agency coordination between local state and federal responders in Puerto Rico,” said John Ware, Coast Guard search and rescue mission coordinator for the case. “The fact that the Captain of the disabled vessel utilized a marine radio to make a distress call to the Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16, allowed for our Coast Guard watchstanders to maintain constant communications with the Serenity and deliver precise information to the DRNA Rangers, whose quick actions and swift response resulted in three lives being saved.”

Coast Guard repatriates 86 of 87 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following the interdiction of 3 illegal migrant voyages in the Mona Passage

July1, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard repatriated 86 of 87 to the Dominican Republic Navy between Tuesday and Wednesday, following the interdiction of three illegal migrant voyages in the Mona Passage off the west coast of Puerto Rico.

The 87 interdicted migrants are reported to be Dominican Republic nationals. One of the migrants remains hospitalized in Puerto Rico, after he was medevacked due to an existing medical condition.

The interdictions are the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“The strong collaboration between the Coast Guard and our Caribbean Border Interagency Group partner agencies involved in this case, as well as, with our allies in the Dominican Republic Navy, led to the interdiction of three migrant vessels and ensured the quick and safe return of 86 migrants,” said Capt. Gregory Magee, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “This same effort allowed for one of the migrants in need of urgent medical care to be transported to a local hospital in Puerto Rico. We are committed to safeguarding our nation's southernmost maritime border against existing threats, and call for anyone thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage to not take to the sea, you are placing your life at great risk as well as the life of everyone else taking part in the voyage.”

The first illegal voyage was detected Monday afternoon by the crew of a patrolling Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, approximately 40 nautical miles off Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutters Richard Dixon (WPC-1113) and Heriberto Hernandez (WPC-1114) diverted to the scene. Cutter Richard Dixon arrived on-scene and stopped the 30-foot migrant vessel that was transporting 39 men and six women. The cutter Richard Dixon escorted the migrant vessel back to Dominican Republic territorial waters, where they were rendezvoused with the Dominican Republic Navy vessel Bellatrix, and completed the repatriation of the migrants.

The second illegal voyage was detected Monday evening by the crew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement Aircraft, approximately 22 nautical miles off the southwest coast of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez diverted to the scene, while a marine unit from Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air and Marine also responded to interdict. The CBP marine unit stopped the 35-foot vessel that was transporting 31 men and eight women, while the cutter Heriberto Hernandez arrived on scene shortly thereafter and embarked the migrants. One of the migrants in this case was medevacked to a local hospital in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, while the remaining migrants were transported by the cutter Heriberto Hernandez to Dominican Republic territorial waters, where they rendezvoused and completed the at-sea repatriation of the migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel just off Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The third illegal voyage was detected Wednesday morning by the crew of a Customs and Border Protection dash-8 maritime patrol aircraft, approximately 12 nautical miles west of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The crew of a responding Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit interdicted the 21-foot makeshift vessel that was transporting three men. Shortly thereafter, the cutter Heriberto Hernandez arrived on scene, embarked the migrants and transported them to waters just of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where the repatriation was completed to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Wednesday afternoon.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with Personal Protective Equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. No migrants were reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

The Puerto Rico Gov't on Monday Began Giving Aide to Small Businesses that Encountered Losses After Hurricane Maria

June 29,2020

SAN JUAN, PR – Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced awarded the first $50,000 grant on Monday as part of the Small Business Financing (SBF) program.

The program is financed with funds allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and is in the “Recovery Grants phase (grants awards of up to $50,000) for working capital and moveable equipment for small businesses and microenterprises that suffered physical and/or financial losses” due to the hurricanes of 2017, Irma and Maria.

Startups created after the hurricanes are also eligible if they can show their creation was the result of a closure of a previous business after damages caused by the hurricanes.

In a ceremony at Lot 23, the food truck park in Santurce, the governor presented the aid to Cristina Sumaza, the park’s owner, as well as to six other grantees.

After this initial phase, the SBF program “will offer them the opportunity of applying for flexible loans with the end goal of fostering their economic recovery even further,” a press release issued by the governor’s office reads.

Watch: In a ceremony at Lote 23, the food truck park in Santurce, the governor presented the aid to Cristina Sumaza, the park’s owner, as well as to six other grantees

Shooting in Guaynabo Leaves Two in Serious Condition

June 28, 2020

A man and a woman were seriously injured after being shot last night in the Sabana neighborhood, in Guaynabo.

José Medero Delgado was at the corner of Ponce de León avenue and De Diego street when someone shot him several times, hitting him in the neck and back.

A young woman, Melanie Ortiz Quiñones, was also wounded by a bullet in her hip.

The injured were taken to the Cataño Diagnostic and Treatment Center (CDT), from where they were referred to the Río Piedras Medical Center and are in stable condition. 

2 Men Shot Dead in Front of Business in Rio Piedras Wednesday Night

June 25, 2020

The two men who were shot to death at 8:09 pm yesterday in front of a business at the entrance of the Corea community in the Caimito neighborhood of Río Piedras, were residents of the place and had no criminal record.

Police have identified them as Justo Villegas Tanco, 57, and Jackson Cortez Cotto, 26.

Both were sitting in office chairs in front of the business known as Papo Chori, when the gunmen armed with assault rifles and pistols arrived, sowing terror in the community with the intense shooting.

The men died on the spot.

With the double murder, the violent death statistic between January 1 and June 24 adds up to 260, a reduction of 47 compared to last year. In the capital city, 60 of the murders have been registered, a reduction of eight compared to the same period in 2019.

BE PREPARED IN CASE DISASTER STRIKES

Three Individuals Indicted & Arrested For Health Care Fraud

June 24, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On June 17, 2020, a Federal Grand Jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a 43-count indictment charging Sophia Piñeiro-Ruscalleda, Dr. Alice Ruscalleda-Lebrón and Juan José Ruscalleda, former officials of New Health Med Group, Inc. (NHMG), with health care fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and obstruction of a criminal investigation related to health care offenses. The defendants were arrested today, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) was in charge of the investigation. The indictment was unsealed today upon the arrest of the three defendants by HHS-OIG agents.

According to the indictment, from in or about July 2015 through in or about March 2017, Sophia Piñeiro-Ruscalleda, Dr. Alice Ruscalleda-Lebrón and Juan José Ruscalleda enriched themselves by submitting or causing to be submitted false and fraudulent claims to the Medicare program. The claims submitted by the defendants were for services purportedly rendered by various providers on behalf of NHMG, when said providers did not render any such services and never worked for NHMG on the dates of service listed on the claims submitted.

Defendants submitted and/or caused to be submitted to Medicare a total of 2,711 claims using various rendering providers’ identifiers totaling $194,960. The defendants are facing a health care fraud forfeiture allegation of $85,422, which constitutes the amount of money Medicare paid the defendants.

If found guilty, the defendants face maximum sentences of: (a) up to ten years in prison for charges relating to health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud; (b) up to five years’ imprisonment for the obstruction of a criminal investigation related to health care offenses; and (c) a mandatory two-year consecutive term in prison for aggravated identity theft.

2 Watercraft Riders Rescued off Isla Verde Beach in Carolina, Puerto Rico

June 20, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The crew of a Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan 33-foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement rescued 2 watercraft riders Friday night, approximately one and a half miles off Isla Verde Beach in the municipality of Carolina, Puerto Rico.

The rescued man and woman reportedly were forced to abandon their personal watercraft after it started to sink.

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received at 7 p.m. Friday multiple calls from 911 and bystanders at the beach, who reported the sighting of three parachute flares one to two miles from shore. Watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-65D Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Borinquen and a 33-foot SPC-LE boat crew from Boat Station San Juan to search for signs of a distress, they also alerted the Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine station in Carolina. Watchstanders also issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast advising boaters in the area to be on the lookout for a potential distress.

The Coast Guard boat crew arrived to the area of the distress. Once on scene, watchstanders patched-in a Good Samaritan bystander, who was able to communicate directly with the boat crew and vector them in closer to the location of the flare sighting. Shortly thereafter, one of the boat crewmembers heard a whistle off the back deck, that led the Coast Guard crew to locating and safely recovering both watercraft riders from the water.

The Coast Guard crews assisted the rescued man and woman, who were transported to Boat Station San Juan, where they were received by friends and family.

“This was a great rescue, the debrief with survivors provided us valuable information confirming there were no other watercraft or persons in distress,” said Ensign John Truncale, Sector San Juan Rescue Center command duty officer. “The cooperation of Good Samaritan bystanders and that these boaters were wearing lifejackets and were equipped with flares and a whistle led to a successful outcome in this case. I’m proud of the collective effort and coordination between watchstanders and our Station San Juan boat crew in finding and bringing these persons to safety.”

Following the rescue, watchstanders issued a Safety Marine Information Broadcast advising boaters and marine traffic of the adrift watercraft as a hazard to navigation.

New Commander for Coast Guard Forces in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

June 17, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard Sector San Juan received a new commander Wednesday, who will be responsible for Coast Guard forces in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as Coast Guard operations in the Eastern Caribbean.

Rear Adm. Eric C. Jones, Coast Guard’s Seventh District commander, presided over the change of command ceremony, where Capt. Gregory H. Magee relieved Capt. Eric P. King as the Commander of Sector San Juan.

During the ceremony, Capt. Eric P. King was recognized with the Legion of Merit for his accomplishments during his three-year command. In response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, King led 783 Coast Guard responders in re-opening 17 commercial ports in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands necessary for humanitarian relief efforts. He coordinated the interagency cleanup and removal of 856 hurricane impacted vessels and 35,000 gallons of pollution.

Under Capt. King’s leadership, Sector San Juan saved 1,183 lives and $38 million in property. Coast Guard crews also interdicted 2,042 illegal migrants and seized approximately 22,508 kilograms in cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of $852 million.

“This has been the most challenging and rewarding assignment in my Coast Guard career,” said King. “Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will forever hold a special place in my heart as will the men and women of Sector San Juan, with whom I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving with during one of the toughest periods in the history of both territories. This is a sad time for my family, and me since for the last three years we have called la “Isla del Encanto” our home. We look forward to returning to enjoy these beautiful islands and visit good friends.”

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored event preserved by the rich heritage of naval tradition. It is a custom that is formal, and following military protocol, is designed to strengthen the respect for the continuity of command that is vital to any military organization. The culmination of the ceremony is reached when both officers read their orders, face one another, salute, and transfer responsibility of command. This provides the entire command with the knowledge and the opportunity to witness the peaceful transition of command.

Sector San Juan’s encompasses a 1.3 million square mile area of responsibility within the Eastern Caribbean. It is comprised of more than 500 Active Duty and Reserve Sector personnel in 13 subordinate units, including seven fast response cutters and one coastal patrol boat, a Marine Safety Detachment, two Resident Inspection Offices, an Aids To Navigation Team, and a Tactical/Pursuit Station with two Boat Force Detachments. The Sector is supported by Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, one of three major air stations in the Coast Guard’s Seventh District. Sector San Juan includes two of the busiest ports in the nation, which receive over three million visitors and 11,000 vessel arrivals annually, including almost 1,600 cruise ships.

 

Coast Guard repatriates 12 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following interdiction of illegal voyage in the Mona Passage

June 15, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser (WPC-1116) repatriated 12 migrants to the Dominican Republic Navy Sunday in waters just off Samaná, Dominican Republic, following the interdiction an illegal migrant voyage Saturday in the Mona Passage.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“Thanks to the quick response of the cutter Winslow Griesser, 12 lives were removed from a very dangerous situation,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “Unfortunately in this case, like in most illegal voyages in the Mona Passage, the migrants took to the sea aboard a grossly overloaded and unseaworthy vessel, with no lifesaving equipment aboard.”

During a routine patrol Saturday afternoon, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detected a suspect migrant vessel, approximately 30 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan diverted the cutter Winslow Griesser which arrived on-scene, stopped the 25-foot makeshift boat and embarked 10 men and two women, who were reported to be Dominican Republic nationals.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with Personal Protective Equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. No migrants were reported to be sick or to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Cutters Winslow Griesser is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

PR Police Found Man Shot Dead in Residence Under Construction in Canovanas

June 14, 2020

A man was killed last night inside a residence under construction, on Dalia street in the Villa Hugo II sector, in Canóvanas, the police reported today.

According to authorities, an anonymous call received in the Canóvanas District reports of gunshots and when they arrived, agents found the bullet-riddled body of Larry Rivera Ramos, 33.

Agent Nolasco Pizarro, from the Homicide Division of the Carolina Criminal Investigations Corps, in conjunction with prosecutor Judimar Pérez, took over the investigation.

Pedestrian Killed in Rio Piedras

June 13, 2020

A man who has not yet been identified died instantly after being hit early Saturday morning by a car in the Villa Granada area of Rio Piedras.

According to the preliminary report, the pedestrian was hit by a car for which no description was offered and was transferred to the San Francisco hospital, where he died while being treated.

The driver will undergo an alcohol detection test in his body.

Coast Guard repatriates 50 of 51 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following 2 interdictions off the west coast of Puerto Rico

June 12, 2020.

 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley (WPC-1117) repatriated 50 of 51 migrants to the Dominican Republic Navy Thursday in waters just off Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, following the interdiction of two illegal migrant voyages just off the west coast of Puerto Rico.

Of the 51 interdicted migrants, 49 are reported to be Dominican Republic nationals, while two others are reported to be Haitian. One of the migrants remains in U.S. custody facing criminal immigration charges.

The interdictions are the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“These interdictions speak to the strong local and federal law enforcement partnerships within the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and our collective resolve to safeguard the nations southernmost maritime border against existing threats,” said Capt. Eric P. King, Sector San Juan commander. “The efficient coordination between responding agencies led to these successful interdictions and the safe recovery of all 51 migrants. These illegal voyages are extremely dangerous, as migrants continue to take to the sea aboard grossly overloaded and unseaworthy makeshift vessels with little or no lifesaving equipment onboard.”

Late Tuesday night, a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit interdicted a 25-foot yola with 38 migrants aboard, 36 men and 2 women, including the two Haitian men, approximately three nautical miles off the coast of Aguada, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser (WPC-1116) diverted to the scene and embarked the migrants from the makeshift vessel, while a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen flew overhead rescue support throughout the transfer.

Early Thursday morning, a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit interdicted a second yola transporting 13 migrants, approximately one nautical mile off the lighthouse in Rincón, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark (WPB-87371) arrived on scene shortly thereafter and embarked all 13 migrants from the makeshift boat.

The migrant facing potential federal prosecution was transferred to the custody of Border Patrol Agents in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico Thursday, while the remaining migrants were transferred and transported by the cutter Donald Horsley to the Dominican Republic for their repatriation.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with Personal Protective Equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. No migrants were reported to be sick or to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Coast Guard Oversees Salvage Efforts Following Aircraft Crash in San Juan Harbor

June 3, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard Sector San Juan Incident Management Division personnel are overseeing salvage efforts by the owning company of a Piper Aztec airplane Wednesday, after the twin-engine aircraft crashed into San Juan Harbor’s San Antonio channel Tuesday afternoon, killing the pilot and one of two aircraft mechanics who were aboard.

“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends and loved ones of the men who were lost in this very unfortunate incident,” said Capt. Eric King, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “We are thankful to hear that the sole survivor is recovering at a local hospital and wish him a prompt and successful recovery.”

Following the completion of search and rescue operations, Sector San Juan IMD personnel requested a salvage plan from Marine Diving Contractors and Clean Harbors Caribe, as the companies hired by the owner, Vieques Air Link, Inc. to recover the aircraft and remove the pollution threat from the San Antonio Channel.

The pollution threat represented by the aircraft consists of a maximum potential discharge of 144 gallons of Jet-A fuel that could potentially be released into the water, although the actual amount of fuel the aircraft was carrying at the time of the crash remains uncertain.

“Our main focus at this point is to ensure the safe recovery of the aircraft and removal of the pollution threat from the San Antonio Channel, which is just off the Club Nautico and San Juan Bay marinas,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Villanueva, Sector San Juan IMD Marine Science Technician. “The impacts to the environment should be minimal considering this type of fuel evaporates quickly.”

As part of the operation, Clean Harbors personnel deployed containment boom around the crash site to prevent fuel from spreading inside the channel.

Watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a VHF marine radio transmission on Channel-16 from San Juan Bay pilots at 1:35 p.m. Tuesday, who reported the downed aircraft to the Coast Guard. Watchstanders immediately diverted a Boat Station San Juan 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement from a training mission and directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen. Upon arriving on scene, the Boat Station San Juan crew assisted local emergency crews in reaching and recovering divers from the crash site, who successfully recovered the deceased.

 

Two Dead & One Injured after a Plane Accident in the San Juan Bay

June 2, 2020

A Vieques Air Link plane crashed near the Pan American Pier, at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday that left two people dead and one injured.

The injured was transported in critical condition to a hospital.

"The crew was a pilot and two mechanics. They were preparing to take off (from the Isla Grande airport). Apparently, when taking off, they had mechanical malfunctions. The pilot tried to enter the waters again towards the runway, but it was not possible,Pedro Janer  secretary of the Department of Public Security explained.

Dozens of troops began arriving on the scene at the  San Juan Bay, about 20 minutes after receiving the alert. The plane collided with two boats at the scene before diving into three sailboats.

Citizens at the scene managed to rescue one of the crew. However, Janer indicated that both fatalities spent about 40 minutes submerged in the water before being located by divers.

The chief of operations of the Bureau for Emergency Management and Disaster Administration, Nino Correa, explained that in the next few days the plane - submerged at about 30 to 40 feet deep - will be removed in coordination with the private company and various entities.

"The other detail is to get that fuselage out of there, it is a coordination with the Ports Authority ... it is doing with the private company of the plane, for the purposes of hiring a company that comes and removes that fuselage here, because that represents a danger, "he said.

Between 50 and 60 members of the Coast Guard, the United Rapid Action Forces the Police Bureau, the Fire Department, and the Municipal Police of San Juan arrived.

The two victims and the injured person have yet to be identified.

Puerto Rico Police Found Dead Body Wrapped in Bed Sheets at Intersection in Santurce

May 30, 2020

The body of a man wrapped in a sheet was found at 8:23 am today at the intersection of Cerra Andino and Trastalleres streets, in Santurce.

A call to 911 reported the murder, and at this time details are unknown.

The police report indicates that the agent Alberto Dávila, of Homicides of the Criminal Investigations Corps (CIC) of San Juan, and the prosecutor Betzaida Quiñones undertook the investigations. 

Coast Guard Recovers 11 Bales of Adrift Cocaine 10 miles Southwest of Desecheo Island

May 28, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutters Paul Clark (WPC-1106) and Joseph Tezanos (WPC-1118) crews recovered a total of 11 bales of cocaine approximately 10 miles southwest of Desecheo Island, Friday.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew located a debris field approximately 10 miles southwest of Desecho Island. The cutter Paul Clark crew arrived on scene and recovered 10 bales of cocaine weighing approximately 1,000 pounds from the debris field. The cutter Joseph Tezanos crew recovered an additional bale of cocaine in the vicinity weighing approximately 100 pounds.

All 11 bales of cocaine were transferred to the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force personnel.

"The recovery of the 11 bales of cocaine offshore from Puerto Rico highlights the excellent work of the cutter Paul Clark, deployed to Puerto Rico from Miami and the MH-60 crew as well as the Puerto Rico based cutter Joseph Tezanos," said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Coast Guard Sector San Juan chief of response. "The Coast Guard could not complete the interdiction cycle of success were it not for the outstanding interagency coordination of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force who supported the drug offload on a holiday weekend."

On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives. Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.

Two Young Men Murdered in Manatí

May 24, 2020

MANATÍ - The bullet riddled bodies of two young men were found around 1:30 on Sunday afternoon in two sectors of Manati, bringing the number of violent deaths since last Thursday to 10 and 32 registered between May 1 and 23.

One of the bodies was found on Branch 6685, in the Villa Amalia sector, and the other was found on PR-642 near Puente Bello.

The victims have not been identified. Agents from the CIC in Arecibo were heading to the scenes to start the investigation.

Update: Kidnapped Minor Recued by FBI & Special Agents

May 22, 2020

FBI and Joint Police Forces agents rescued Michael E. Javois, the 7-year-old minor reported as abducted yesterday afternoon in Carolina, on Friday night.

According to preliminary information, the boy was found in good health in Luquillo and the agents arrested several people.

The FBI was seeking to transfer the case to state jurisdiction.

On Friday afternoon, Police reported the kidnapping of a minor in a car rental business on Los Angeles Avenue in Carolina.

According to preliminary information, the child's mother was preparing to look for the boy - who was with his aunt - to take him to St. Croix. His aunt's partner is the one who allegedly kidnapped him.

 An AMBER ALERT was issued.

This is a developing story so please stay tuned to FreedomCity Times.