Alleged organizers of big event in Morovis arrested, then released by the Police
By John McPhaul
An alleged organizer of a party that took place on Saturday at a farm in Morovis where dozens of attendees failed to wear masks and maintain a safe distance to avoid contracting COVID-19 was arrested Tuesday at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina.
“Michael Miles, who was preparing to leave the country [sic] for Dallas, Texas, was detained for investigation purposes, since he is one of the participants in the activity that took place on a private farm in the town of Morovis,” the Puerto Rico Police Bureau Press Office said Tuesday in a written statement. “The agents in charge of the investigation will continue with it today [Tuesday].”
Two other people who allegedly participated in the Morovis event were intercepted and arrested later Tuesday by police at the Spirit Airlines terminal as they were preparing to travel to Baltimore.
Personnel from the island Health Department’s Office of Investigations participated in the arrests.
It was known by The Star that the three of them were later released because the Police did not have enough evidence against them and they did not cooperate.
However, personnel from the Department of Health are convinced that they were in the event.
The event in Morovis violated the executive order of Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, which seeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Photos and videos posted on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, show the number of people attending the so-called Forex event.
Health Secretary Lorenzo González Feliciano on Sunday denounced the behavior of the dozens of people who gathered without wearing masks or maintaining the proper distance.
A group of people at the event are seen celebrating and singing without wearing masks or maintaining the recommended six feet of physical distance.
The video tweet was available for a few hours, but was later deleted. An attempt to access the video on Tuesday resulted in a “This Tweet is not available” message.
“It is unacceptable what is seen in the video that is circulating on social networks of a party where there is a gathering of people, without masks and without physical distancing, on a farm in Morovis,” González Feliciano said in a written statement.
“If indeed that video documents an activity held in recent days, as has been broadcast, not only the people who participated in the activity and appear in the video but also the owners of the place and the organizers of the event are irresponsible and have no respect for life,” the official added. “At the Department of Health we are going to activate all the mechanisms at our disposal so that they pay for their actions.”
“The Health Department’s Office of Investigations is working on the situation and has instructions to act immediately in this case, together with the pertinent agencies, so that the full weight of the law falls on these people, for putting lives at risk,” González Feliciano added. “As a result of this incident, not only can those responsible become infected, but they can become ill and even kill their family and friends. It is sad that, at a time when we are reinforcing the message that protection is the best tool against the spread of COVID-19, we see people who are indifferent and make fun of life in that way. To all those people who think that they are not going to be infected, I urge you to look at the daily statistics and understand that anyone can not only become infected, but also become a lethal weapon for those close to them.”
Vázquez reacted on her Twitter account Sunday to the video of the event.
“The lack of awareness and the irresponsibility of some in not protecting themselves and maintaining physical distancing, causing more infections and deaths mainly in our elderly, will not allow us to advance in this battle,” the governor tweeted. “It depends on you!”