Feds inspect illegal construction in Salinas reserve
By The Star Staff
The FBI, along with the Special Investigation Bureau (NIE) and the island Department of Justice, conducted a visual inspection at Jobos Bay in Salinas on Thursday.
It was reported beforehand that commonwealth prosecutors who are conducting an investigation into illegal construction at the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Reserve were to be present at the inspection.
The area became the site of controversy after it was revealed that mangroves were cut down and illegal construction was carried out in the wetlands reserve.
Among the structures are campsites, buildings, swimming pools and fences.
The deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, Héctor Ramírez Carbó, confirmed that the construction in the federal reserve was illegal.
“It cannot be built,” he said. “And yet it was built. We have received some complaints and notifications to act and investigate and we are acting and investigating.”
After an investigation by local authorities got underway, several campers abandoned the site and water was turned off to units that did not provide the required documentation.
After the invasion of the reserve was revealed by Citizen Victory Movement Rep. Mariana Nogales Molinelli, the island House of Representatives held public hearings and visual inspections that revealed the clandestine development of the site.