Yesterday was yet another historic day for Puerto Rico, as well as for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). An estimated 133 police officers, which also includes some on the municipal level, national guards, and U.S Army soldiers, amongst others, were arrested for corruption. They allegedly aided drug traffickers by providing protection during drug deals and received between $500 to $4,000 for each transaction. This was the FBI's largest police corruption investigation in its 102 year history, and it's called Operation Guard Shack.
U.S Attorney General Eric H. Holder gave a press conference and said the following: “This department has one message for anyone willing to abuse the public trust for personal gain: You will be caught. You will be stopped. And you will be punished.” Sadly, corruption is pervasive in all levels of the Puerto Rican government. In general, public confidence in the local government is less than sanguine. This is especially true of the local police force, who are seen as inept in combating crime and (yes) corrupt.
Luis Fraticelli, the head of the FBI office in Puerto Rico, and José Figueroa Sancha , the Superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police Department, were both quick to add that the actions of these arrested police officers are not representative of the entire police force on the island. Actions will have to speak louder than words though. Evidently, Operation Guard Shack sends a powerful message that corruption has no place in law enforcement. Moreover, it also reminds us of the significance in having federal law enforcement agencies present on the island.
(Image above was obtained from www.endi.com)