Above: US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer (FP)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer announced Thursday the creation of a Florida Caribbean Basin Initiative aimed at combating and deterring drug trafficking in the region.
As part of the initiative, Ferrer’s office has designated two attorneys in its Narcotics Section to focus on narco-trafficking in the region, joined by the Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations.
Ferrer was speaking after the announcement of an unsealed indictment for 13 alleged narco-traffickers charged with transporting drugs from Latin America through the British Virgin Islands.
“Through innovative investigative and prosecutorial techniques, South Florida has long been a leader in the fight against narco-traffickers,” Ferrer said. “The creation of the Caribbean Basin Initiative is yet another example of how law enforcement in South Florida is taking proactive approaches to develop forward-looking strategies to stay ahead of the ever-changing face of narcotics trafficking.”
ICE Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Shea said his agency had seen a recent increase in maritime drug smuggling out of the Caribbean, in part because of the increased emphasis the US has placed on narco-trafficking in Mexico.
“With the focus and resources DHS [Department of Homeland Security] has placed on the southwest border, it is natural to see smugglers revert to the Caribbean basin.”