SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A 32-year-old Puerto Rican fugitive wanted by the Puerto Rico Police Department for drug trafficking was arrested Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at the Monte Hatillo public housing project in San Juan.
Rafael Ortiz-Cedra was arrested during the execution of an arrest warrant in Monte Hatillo as part of HSI San Juan's Caribbean Resilience initiative, which seeks to identify and apprehend those trafficking illegal arms and narcotics.
For the past two years there has been a steady escalation of violence in Puerto Rico, primarily related to the smuggling and trafficking of narcotics. In direct response to this threat and its consequent impact on the quality of life for those residing in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Department of Homeland Security initiated a comprehensive Caribbean frontier strategy dubbed Operation Caribbean Resilience.
A principal tenet of the strategy is to focus additional resources toward the island of Puerto Rico in an effort to concentrate on complex transnational criminal organizations perpetrating this violence and thus reduce the illegal flow of drugs, weapons and cash across the border.