Puerto Rico arrests 12 linked to Caribbean drug lord

Puerto Rico arrests 12 linked to Caribbean drug lord
# 23 November 2010 03:22 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. U.S. and Puerto Rican officials arrested a dozen people on Monday with suspected ties to an accused Caribbean drug kingpin alleged to have led the region’s biggest narcotics trafficking ring, APA reports quoting “Reuters”.
Authorities in the U.S. Caribbean territory were searching for five more people in a sweep launched after a federal grand jury indicted Jose Figueroa Agosto and his alleged associates on drug trafficking charges, said Ivan Ortiz, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The charges were the latest brought against Figueroa Agosto, who is now serving a previously-imposed 209-year sentence in prison for murder and kidnapping following his recapture in July after a more than decade on the run.
In August, he also pleaded guilty to passport fraud.
Anti-drug officials say Figueroa Agosto once controlled most of the cocaine trade flowing out of Puerto Rico, long a major route between South America and the eastern United States.
He came to be known as the "Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean" after Colombia’s most notorious drug lord of the 1980s.
Figueroa Agosto’s reign as the region’s drug kingpin ended this summer when he was arrested by federal agents while he drove through a working-class San Juan neighborhood.
Most of Monday’s arrests were carried out in San Juan, Ortiz said. One person was arrested while traveling on a cruise ship in the U.S. Virgin Islands, he added.
The arrest of Figueroa Agosto in July followed his escape from a Puerto Rican prison in 1999.
Using a series of aliases, he moved on to the Dominican Republic where authorities say he seized control over most of the lucrative drug smuggling route between that country and Puerto Rico.