2010, More than 75 percent of the murders in Puerto Rico have been associated with illegal drug trade, and the percent may even be higher according to the Puerto Rico police department. The drug abuse problem is very serious and getting worse. The high level of drug related violence is associated with the fact that the Island is a key transit point for the illegal drugs that are produced in South and Central America; these illicit drugs are intended to be distributed within the 50 states. South Florida many times serves as the gate-way. The illegal drugs come into Puerto Rico in several ways including container ships from multiple countries.
2003, Puerto Rico is a major trans-shipment point for cocaine that’s intended for the United States. This means that illegal drugs like cocaine are transported (trafficked) into and through Puerto Rico and in this case, headed for the continental United States. The heroin that’s illegally transported to the United States also comes through Puerto Rico.
When the drugs are transported, often times they are snuck into and through Puerto Rico by way of commercial aircraft. There are so many people traveling through the commercial airports in Puerto Rico yearly that sneaking illegal drugs in and out is done relatively easy. Drug couriers that travel on these aircrafts for the most part put it in their luggage or carry it on their body inconspicuously. Many internally hide the drugs that are being transported. Another way of smuggling the illegal drugs is done by package delivery services and air cargo.
Cocaine is definitely a drug concern to Puerto Rico. This illegal drug is always available and is abused on a regular basis by many people. Violent crime is associated with the cocaine abuse and the selling of this illicit drug also. Powdered and crack cocaine is abused quite frequently in Puerto Rico from what Law enforcement and health officials have determined. Maritime vessels which are large ships and aircraft are used to transport cocaine into and through Puerto Rico. Criminal organizations and the Dominican drug trafficking organizations are the ones responsible for transporting cocaine in and out of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican criminal organized groups along with Colombian drug trafficking organizations are responsible for transporting cocaine in and out of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The illegal criminal groups don’t sell themselves to the users, they supply other Puerto Rican and Dominican illicit groups and the independent local dealers so they can sell cocaine to the individuals that are addicted and abuse cocaine.
Heroin is another illegal drug that threatens Puerto Rico. The abuse of heroin is quite prevalent due to the high purity South American heroin and because it is extremely available. Southeast Asian, Mexican black tar, and Mexican brown powdered heroin in small quantities are sometimes available in Puerto Rico.
Marijuana (cannabis) can be purchased and abused quite easily in Puerto Rico. Most of the marijuana that you find in Puerto Rico is manufactured or produced in Mexico, although they do produce their own locally. In Puerto Rico you can also find marijuana that’s produced In Colombia and Jamaica. You won’t find much marijuana cultivation going on in Puerto Rico, it’s quite limited but most of what they do grow and produce takes place in small plots in the central mountain areas and in the Rio Grande region of NE Puerto Rico.
MDMA (ecstasy) and other illegal drugs are also a problem in Puerto Rico. This stimulant and other pharmaceuticals drugs that include meperidines like Demerol, Oxycodones like Percocet, hydromorphones like Dilaudid and benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax are all abused in Puerto Rico. MDMA is abused mostly by the young upper middle class youth’s. The criminal organizations often times use these young people as couriers to transport the MDMA to Puerto Rico from Europe, using commercial aircraft.
Adult males are usually the ones that are treated for drug abuse in Puerto Rico. Those individuals 25 and 34 years of age have been admitted for treatment the most out of any other age group. This information comes from a 2003 Puerto Rico drug threat assessment.
By now, it’s clear that the violence and drug abuse and use is much worse now in Puerto Rico than in 2003.
Puerto Rico Drug Threat Assessment