The theory is that the people locked up for robbing stores, homes and cars are largely responsible for the murders. Drug dealers carjack innocent drivers because they need the cars for drive-by shootings, and addicts invade homes to score money for drugs.
They tend to be extremely violent, Capo said. Law enforcement has been on the lookout for these individuals. They are suspected of multiple murders. Were able, in a simple case, to just get them off the street.
He cites the case of Carlos Morales García, who was released this summer after serving 15 years of a 40-year sentence for a 1994 massacre that left six people dead. He had 57 prior convictions, including four armed robberies and seven attempted murders, Capo said.
He recently pleaded guilty to possession of an automatic weapon, and will face 15 years in federal prison at his January sentencing.
Pesquera said the federal task force is making so many arrests that the jails have to be notified in advance to bring in transport planes to clear out space for incoming inmates. Underscoring the lack of federal resources, the U.S. attorneys office had to borrow state prosecutors to handle the load.
They have 12 of my prosecutors, 24 of my agents and 300 police. We have to loan to them. That explains itself, said Puerto Ricos attorney general, Guillermo Somoza. They need to send more tools to patrol the air and water. Send planes or prosecutors or both.
Somoza acknowledged that his office filed charges in just 350 murder cases last year, even though 1,135 people were killed. With a clearance rate of less than a third, authorities are putting their hopes on Pesquera to turn around the troubled police department.
But since Luis Fortuño, the governor who appointed Pesquera, lost the November election, it is unclear how much more time Pesquera has on the job. His original agreement called for one year, after which he would return to his Port of Miami job.
With just a few weeks left in the year, Puerto Rico has already logged almost 900 murders. Last weekend, 14 people were killed, even as outrage over the latest gruesome killing sparked a movement that spread on social media.
There are few places where you feel safe, said Luis Romero Font, who became a crime-fighting activist after the death of his son, who was killed in a robbery. Puerto Rico has 4 million American citizens that have been forgotten by the federal government with regards to drug trafficking and crime. If this had happened in San Francisco, theyd have sent two divisions of the Army to resolve it.