Feds Develop Caribbean Narcotics Strategy

President Barack Obama’s Office of National Drug Control Policy has developed a biennial "Caribbean Border Counter-Narcotics Strategy," a move welcomed and praised by Delegate Donna M. Christensen in a statement Wednesday.

Christensen said the strategy is a "direct result of my many years of work on the Homeland Security Committee and with Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi which has resulted in law that mandates its development." By law, the Office of National Drug Control Policy must submit the strategy by May 17, 2014, Christensen said.

Christensen and her Puerto Rico counterpart, Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi testified before the House Homeland Security Committee in 2012 decrying the lack of a Caribbean strategy and asked for the increased deployment of federal assets to stem the tide of drug trafficking and gun violence that has bloated the murder rate in the U.S. Caribbean territories in the last several years.

“I want to thank Resident Commissioner Pierluisi, who is a former prosecutor, for his work in getting the legislation that mandates the strategy passed and signed into law,” Christensen said.

The Caribbean Border Counter-Narcotics Strategy, signed into law by President Obama Jan. 17, requires the Office of National Drug Control Policy to develop a Caribbean border strategy akin to that of the southwest border and the northern border, according to Christensen.

Christensen said the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s acting director wrote her saying the strategy will address intelligence collection and information sharing; interdiction in the air and sea and at ports of entry; investigations and prosecutions; disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations with a focus on the threat posed by drug related violence; and increased demand reduction efforts in affected communities.

Christensen said the Caribbean Border Counter-Narcotics Strategy will be developed in consultation with federal and local authorities representing Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. She said the office is “asking for our input and it is my hope that they will get the full cooperation of the Virgin Islands government so that we can address the gaps in law enforcement as well as prevention and treatment of those who are victims.”

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