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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Crackdown on illegal pyrotechnics said to be working

Lt. José J. Taboada de Jesús, president of the Police Members Association of Puerto Rico

By The Star Staff

Police Members Association of Puerto Rico President Lt. José J. Taboada de Jesús said Wednesday that efforts to curb the use of illegal fireworks on the island are paying off.

“For the first time, Puerto Ricans have become aware of the illegal use of pyrotechnics, demonstrating a reduction of more than 70% percent in the detonations of illegal explosives so far in the 2023 Christmas period,” Taboada de Jesús said in a written statement.

“It is a fact that the public has cooperated to reduce the harmful effects of pyrotechnics during the Christmas period,” he said. “Puerto Rico has responded to the call to eliminate the use of pyrotechnics during the holidays. … Puerto Rico Police colleagues have done an excellent intelligence job, accomplishing raids and confiscations of explosive material that was intended to be used this Christmas. Our State and Municipal Police deserve to be congratulated for the work they have done that has managed to strike a blow against the crime industry with the seizure of thousands of illegal fireworks. We know that there are several warehouses under surveillance, one specifically that was moved with significant shipments of explosive material destined for use this Christmas, but sooner or later the intelligence of the police will find the storage place of this material that causes so much damage to the elderly, children and pets.”

Taboada de Jesús noted that after Cataño Mayor Julio Alicea Vasallo issued an order prohibiting the use of pyrotechnics in his municipality, several other mayors supported the idea.

“I am pleased to learn that the mayor of Cayey, Rolando Ortiz Velázquez, and Camuy Mayor Gabriel ‘Gaby’ Hernández Rodríguez are joining the ‘Zero Explosives at Christmas 2023’ campaign,” he said. “We know that the mayor of Camuy is very concerned about the negative effects of explosives, especially the dynamite rooms whose detonation stirs up the entire community. The mayor of Cayey, as a lawyer and former legislator, remains concerned about the dead letter and the non-application of the laws against fireworks that are in force. We are emphasizing that it is in the hands of citizens to put an end to this bad practice that harms all communities in the country. The remaining 74 mayors of the island of Puerto Rico need to become aware of this issue, which in fact contributes nothing to municipal coffers. The municipalities do not receive a single dollar of the millions of dollars moved by the crime industry that controls the entry of illegal fireworks. There are only four working days left for mayors to issue Municipal Ordinances to prohibit this practice with illegal explosives that has caused so many accidents and dismemberment of people’s bodies.”

The law enforcement leader encouraged citizens to call the Puerto Rico Police confidential number 787-343-2020 and offer information about warehouses containing illegal explosives for distribution.

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