About 80 percent of the murders committed in Puerto Rico are directly linked to drug trafficking, authorities and academics say.
The violence is one of the consequences of the passage of drugs through Puerto Rico, which has become a bridge for the trafficking of narcotics to the mainland United States, Felix Bauso, head of the San Juan police drugs and vice division, told Efe Monday.
“The drugs come from South America, via the Dominican Republic, to Puerto Rico,” he said, adding that it is a business involving many millions of dollars that has become a means of support and a way of life for thousands of Puerto Ricans.
Bauso also acknowledged that a significant part of the drugs smuggled onto the island remains in Puerto Rico to satisfy the demand of the 40,000 hard-core drug users who currently live in the U.S. commonwealth.
He emphasized that the product of drug consumption worsened in recent years due to the low purity grade of narcotics being sold on the streets of the Caribbean island.
“Because of the lack of purity, addicts have to buy more doses, which increases the problem of crime that surrounds the drug world,” he said.
He said that the main illegal substances arriving in Puerto Rico are cocaine, crack, heroin and marijuana.
Meanwhile, University of Puerto Rico researcher Hector Colon said that the island’s drug users collectively spend nearly $3 million a day to feed their habits.
Colon also said that keeping an addict incarcerated costs between $28,000 and $30,000 per year, to which must be added other costs pertaining to medical attention when the inmates have AIDS or hepatitis.
Police recently dealt a severe blow to the drug world here by arresting 38 people linked to the criminal organization of captured drug trafficker Angel Ayala Vazquez, known as “Angelo Millions” and an associate of some well-known reggaeton artists. EFE
October 6, 2009
Latin American Herald Tribune