Authorities bust drug ring that used social media
By John McPhaul
In the span of five days, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau in conjunction with the Department of Justice carried out arrests related to a drug ring that used social media to conduct business, authorities said Wednesday.
The police conducted three simultaneous operations that left a balance of 84 people arrested, along with the seizure of 44 firearms including 10 rifles and 34 pistols, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, $133,000 in cash and an abundant quantity of drugs including 1,100 kilos of cocaine.
“Today, the large-scale police operations related to the 100 x 35 initiative, which the Police Bureau has developed together with the Department of Justice as part of our Comprehensive Security Plan for Puerto Rico, have borne fruit again with great success,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said at a press conference. “These operations seek to dismantle all forms of criminal organizations that traffic drugs, from traditional points of sale to the new forms of marketing that are emerging, such as the use of social networks. Our law and order component is active and using modern and innovative tools to track these criminals.”
One of the raids was aimed at defusing the operations of five individuals who used social media to advertise the sale of marijuana and arrange home delivery in public places. Some of these involved the dispatch of drugs to customers using cars, including Lexuses and Acuras. Six cars were confiscated during the operation.
In connection with the three operations, the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drugs Division filed 68 charges against 31 defendants.
One of the investigations showed that the defendants used the personal stories sections of digital media to announce the different types of marijuana available on their menu, as well as the date and place of delivery. When the sale was completed, the buyer received specific instructions through the whatsApp digital platform, which included how to pick up the merchandise, where to park and other details such as avoiding looking at the person who delivered the drug.