By The Star Staff
The authorities conducted an operation during the early hours of Wednesday to execute 60 arrest warrants and the filing of 231 charges against subjects alleged to be dedicated to drug trafficking, arms sales and violent crimes.
“Something that the police have done consistently since the beginning of my administration and that I have to mention, is identify, arrest and prosecute gunmen; we have already done that with over 400 gunmen in a matter of three years,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said at a press conference. “There’s one thing I’m sure of. What has caused murders to drop substantially, reaching a level not seen in 40 years, is specifically that we have taken that very impressive number of gunmen out of circulation. It must be remembered that a gunman is someone who is dedicated to murdering people in exchange for compensation that he receives from a criminal organization like this one that we are dismantling today. And there are already more than 400 [taken out of circulation] and we have done it in collaboration with the federal authorities.”
When the governor was asked if those 400 people were serving any jail sentences, he replied that “we would have to see the outcome of each case; some were processed at the federal level.”
“So the federal authorities are the ones who could say what the status of those cases is,” Pierluisi said. “As I indicated, there is no absolute right to bail there. So the advantage that this system has is that when you know that when you’re dealing with a dangerous person, that you’re dealing with a gunman, then you take them out of circulation immediately. In the level of state cases, there is a bail amount set and sometimes they have the means to provide it and then they go out into the free community. You have to look at the nature of these cases to know if they have all been sentenced.”
Chief Prosecutor Jessika Correa González said each case varies because there may be people out on bail or people already sentenced.
“Most of these people, from the evidence that is presented, enter a guilty plea,” she said. “Therefore, it may be that there is a higher percentage of people who are serving time for these crimes.”
Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa added that “as part of the operation, called High Profile, each of the people arrested are not drug addicts, they are people who are dedicated to the transfer and sale of illegal weapons in the underworld.”
“Among the defendants are about 25 people, drug traffickers and high-profile firearms dealers in the underworld, who are dedicated to supplying controlled substances by the kilo to different points and organizations as wholesalers,” he said. “As well as several gunmen, linked to multiple murders and criminal groups.”