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Friday, April 19, 2024


Aug. 9, 2001 — V.I. Attorney General Iver Stridiron on Wednesday assumed the chairmanship of the Puerto Rico-U.S. Virgin Islands High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA).
Stridiron will head the 20-member HIDTA executive board, which is made up of representatives from local and federal law enforcement agencies from Puerto Rico and the territory. The goal of the task force is to reduce drug smuggling and sales, money laundering, violent crime and gun smuggling in the region.
And such activity is rife. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, 30 percent to 40 percent of the cocaine destined for North America is moved through the Caribbean. The DEA estimates that much of the drugs go through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
According to the V.I. Attorney General’s office, it is estimated that a significant number of all violent and property crimes on Puerto Rico and in the territory are drug related.
At a briefing Tuesday by the DEA on St. Thomas, Gov. Charles Turnbull and Stridiron both pledged to support the HIDTA effort. Turnbull noted recent legislation that earmarks $200,000 to improve the operation of the V.I. Police Department’s Blue Lightning marine unit.
Stridiron said the approximately $2 million allocated to HIDTA will be used to strengthen operations in the region.

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