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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Rep. Méndez Nuñez urges stepped-up federal drug patrols off Vieques & Culebra

Rep. Carlos Méndez Núñez

By The Star Staff

The New Progressive Party minority leader in the island House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez, called on federal authorities, particularly U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to increase preventive maritime patrols near the offshore island municipality of Vieques and Culebra in the face of the increase in drug trafficking in the area.

“Today’s news, where agents of the Police Bureau assigned to the District of Culebra seized 250 bales of cocaine near Mosquito beach of the island municipality, is another of several reports that point to an increase in the transfer of drugs in that area,” said the representative for District 36 (Río Grande, Luquillo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Vieques and Culebra). “Our law enforcement agents have done an excellent job intervening with these shipments, but also the federal authorities must increase their presence in the region to assist with offshore interventions.”

“Customs and Border Protection, as well as other federal agencies, including the Coast Guard, should implement an aggressive preventive patrol program in the waters surrounding Vieques and Culebra as a measure to assist the men and women of the [Puerto Rico] Police Bureau,” Méndez Nuñez said. “The increase in the trafficking of illegal drugs through the waters of these two island municipalities is on the rise. Criminal elements use Vieques and Culebra as a point for sending drugs to the big island.”

“This is an important issue for the security of the people of Vieques and Culebra, so I call on the directors of the Office of Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard to take a more relevant role in patrolling, such as more reconnaissance missions in helicopters and preventive patrols in boats, among other actions,” stressed the former House speaker.

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