Drug Trafficking in the Caribbean

In the first half of 2013, 14 percent of cocaine being smuggled to the United States was trafficked through the Caribbean region, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The cocaine being trafficked in the region was double the 7 percent in the first half of 2012.

DEA intelligence analysts report that 27 metric tons of cocaine was brought to the Dominican Republic, an increase from the 22 tons of cocaine it received in 2012.

The US territory of Puerto Rico is also seeing an increase in drug trafficking activity. In an example of the scope of the drug trade, police recently arrested a ring of 27 traffickers who were moving drugs from the Dominican Republic into the United States. The gang reportedly made over $100 Million in revenue.

The homicide rate in Puerto Rico was 30.5 per 100,000 in 2011, over six times the homicide rate of the mainland US. Nearly half of the murders committed in 2011 was drug related.

Security experts state that Puerto Rico is a key location in smuggling drugs into the United States.  Drugs are able to be smuggled into the mainland with less Customs inspections due to its status as a US territory.

Source:  Ezra Fieser, “DEA: Drug trafficking doubles in Caribbean,” Miami Herald, October 3, 2013.