SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Juan announced year-end statistics Monday showing record increases in narcotics, weapons and counterfeit goods seizures, as well as double-digit percentage increases in criminal and administrative arrests, compared to fiscal year 2012.
"In spite of the enormous resources of criminal organizations and their continuous efforts to introduce narcotics into Puerto Rico, HSI San Juan remained committed to the public safety of our communities and was able to send an unprecedented number of criminals to prison, thus contributing to the safety of all the citizens of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands," said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "Our pledge is that HSI will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to continue identifying, investigating and arresting those who pose a threat to our communities and work hard to keep them hostage with their illegal activities. HSI will not tolerate it and will continue using all its resources and robust investigative authorities in our fight against crime."
During fiscal year 2013, HSI San Juan arrested 1,251 criminals, a 37 percent increase compared to the 913 arrests reported during fiscal year 2012. These individuals were charged with drug trafficking, money laundering, commercial fraud, possession of illegal arms, child exploitation, human trafficking and smuggling, intellectual property rights violations, bulk cash smuggling and violations to import and export laws among other crimes. The year netted 53 child exploitation arrests, a 90 percent increase in the number of the cases since the creation of the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force in June 2011. Every year since fiscal year 2011, HSI has set consecutive records for criminal arrests in Puerto Rico.
Working jointly with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, HSI closed the fiscal year with an unprecedented number of seizures, including 21,831 pounds of narcotics and 37,958 illegal weapons and ammunition. This represents a two percent increase in narcotics seizures and a 118 percent increase in illegal weapons and ammunition seizures compared to the previous fiscal year. The federal agencies seized 13,992 pounds of cocaine, 7,747 pounds of marijuana and 86 pounds of heroin.
HSI seized 167,771 pieces of counterfeit and pirated goods during fiscal year, a 144 percent increase compared to the 68,482 items seized by HSI in fiscal year 2012. The total manufacturer’s suggested retail price of goods seized in fiscal year 2013 is estimated to be more than $18 million.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST. The local number is 787-729-6969 or 1-800-891-3030.