Surge in drug-trafficking expected

AP Photo/Israel Leal, file

A top U.S. State Department official, William Brownfield, has predicted that the Caribbean is likely to see a surge in drug-trafficking activity by 2015 as operations out of Central America dwindle due to international crackdown.

Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement, said he believes drug traffickers squeezed out of Mexico, Central America and South America will target the Caribbean because it’s spacious and allows them to remain undercover and take advantage of weal law enforcement in certain countries.

“We’re dealing with 14 different countries spread across a large area,” he said adding, “drug traffickers are looking for very vulnerable holes.”

The State Department official was speaking recently during a visit to Puerto Rico, where he met with local and federal authorities to talk in part about the Caribbean Basin Initiative, which aims to boost regional security with U.S. funding.

In the upcoming fiscal year, Congress has allocated US$40 million for the program. The new funds will be available by August and distributed after the top priorities are identified, according to Brownfield.

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