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Large shipment of cocaine seized in Puerto Rico, signaling island’s growing influence in drug trade

November 27, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Large shipment of cocaine seized in Puerto Rico, signaling island’s growing influence in drug trade Image courtesy of latindispatch.com

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Puerto Rican law enforcement officials on Tuesday announced the seizure of 500 kilograms of cocaine worth approximately $11.5 million, one of the largest drug busts this year.

The seizure follows a series of significant drug stings on the U.S. island territory, signaling a growing role the island is playing in the trafficking of drugs into the U.S.

Eight people were arrested during the raid, according to Police Superintendent José Caldero, including the confiscation of three cars and about $1,500 in cash.

Police received a tip, which led to the raid.

Major shipments of Cocaine have been seized  in Puerto Rico and around various islands in the Caribbean have grown exponentially in the last three years.

According to a New York Times report, because of the major crackdowns in Mexico and violence between cartels, traffickers have been replacing the normal trafficking routes in Mexico and choosing to use the area as a preferred drug route.

In addition, Puerto Rico has become more attractive because goods are able to move from the territory to the mainland U.S. without being subject to inspections from customs.

InSight Crime notes, narcotics are first moved to other Caribbean countries, especially the Dominican Republic, before being brought to the island.

Traffickers likely also target Puerto Rico due to the growing demand on the island itself, which has contributed to the rise of violent local gangs who specialize in “micro-trafficking.”

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