Anyone who lives in Orlando, Florida knows the community shares strong ties with Puerto Rico. Maybe those ties are too strong.
On June 6th, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced it broke up a drug ring headquartered in Puerto Rico that distributed out of San Juan's Luis Munoz Marin airport into the mainland United States. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the smugglers had been sending cocaine and smaller amounts of heroin into Orlando, Miami, New York, and Newark since the late 1990s.
The smugglers moved about 28,000 kilograms (61,000 lbs) of cocaine since 1999, and roughly 30 kilograms (13.5lbs) from 2009 to 2011. That's a lot of cocaine that won't be distributed to those city markets; the amount of cocaine not entering the market could plausibly drive up the market value of cocaine in the areas the drug was sold.
Twenty-five airport employees were arrested at the San Juan airport the same day the drug ring was intercepted. Many of these employees also worked under Angel Ayala Vazquez who went by "Angelo Millones", a man known as Puerto Rico's most notorious drug trafficker.
Some of the warrants that have been issued are for persons in the United States, though details were not completely uncovered the day of the drug ring bust. Over 33 persons were arrested in connection with this drug ring so far, though 45 warrants have been issued.
Trafficking of cocaine in the United States has severe penalties, including extensive jail time and very expensive fines. Even when cocaine is mixed with other agents, such as baby laxative or baking soda, the entire finished product will still constitute a controlled substance and will be persecuted accordingly.So what are the penalties for being caught distributing cocaine as a controlled substance?
These are mandatory minimum sentences according to Florida Law with trafficking (amount is minimum to maximum):
|28-200 Grams||3 years||$50,000|
|200-400 Grams||7 years||$100,000|
|400 Grams - 150 Kilograms||15 years||$250,000|
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