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Operation Caribbean Resilience nets 116 arrests in July, 676 since inception

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and partners made 116 criminal arrests and seized 60 illegal firearms and 2,757 rounds of ammunition during the month of July, as a part of Operation Caribbean Resilience. The initiative, originally launched in January 2012, has resulted in 676 arrests and the seizure of 630 illegal firearms and 33,885 rounds of ammunition since inception.

Of the 116 arrests executed during July, 47 were for federal statute violations and will be prosecuted at the federal level. The remaining 69 will be prosecuted at the state level. The arrests took place in the following municipalities: Arroyo, 1; Bayamon, 23; Caguas, 8; Carolina, 13; Fajardo, 18; Guaynabo, 1; Gurabo, 1; Ponce, 35; and San Juan, 16.

“Operation Caribbean Resilience has demonstrated how effective local, state and federal law enforcement agencies can be when they work together as a team,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “The unprecedented results of this initiative demonstrate the level of commitment of all participants in combatting drug-related violence in Puerto Rico. HSI will continue coordinating its efforts with interagency partners in Puerto Rico, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the Puerto Rico Department of Justice to address violent crime on the island.”

Operation Caribbean Resilience is a joint initiative led by HSI with support from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard. The Puerto Rico Police Department and the municipal police departments of San Juan, Ponce and Toa Alta also participate in the initiative.

In July, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security augmented local enforcement efforts by providing 30 additional HSI special agents and resources. The special agents focused their efforts on high-intensity crime areas with a nexus to transnational criminal operations.

Operation Caribbean Resilience began in the municipality of Loiza, a town considered by law enforcement to be an area of high-intensity criminal activity. Under Operation Caribbean Resilience, Loiza experienced a decrease in homicides between January and May 2012 when compared to the same period in 2011. Loiza also experienced a 78 percent decrease in robberies and a 52 percent decrease in assaults during this time period. The initiative was later expanded to the Bayamon, Ponce, Caguas, Carolina, Fajardo and San Juan areas.

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