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U.S. district attorney: More corruption arrests coming

By on August 22, 2019

U.S. District Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez (CB)

Expected in next few weeks; carjacking task force planned

SAN JUAN — The U.S. attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez, said Wednesday that more arrests for government corruption and other violations will be carried out by mid-September.

Rodríguez made remarks upon arriving at La Fortaleza for the first meeting of federal and state law and order agencies with newly sworn Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced.
Could we see arrests before the end of August, Rodríguez was asked. “Eh … or early or mid-next month,” she replied.

Will they be for public corruption, Caribbean Business inquired. “A little of everything. Anyone who breaks the law; I have said it many times, that whoever violates the law, let them abide by the consequences,” she said.

The chief prosecutor said her presence in the governor’s La Fortaleza mansion was due to a security meeting with federal and state agencies with the governor, and upon leaving the conclave, she added that the Vázquez asked them to establish an inter-agency team to address carjackings.

“The governor asked us to create a task force to investigate the increase in carjackings in Puerto Rico, and we are going to ask the most affected municipalities by this type of crime to give us three to four municipal police officers for the task force,” Rodríguez Vélez said during a press conference held when the meeting ended.

A total of 382 carjackings have been reported in Puerto Rico this year, or 34 more cases than reported for the same period last year.

“Today we discussed several security issues and especially talked about carjackings. We need to establish strategies where we share resources and create a task force to address the problem in Bayamón, Caguas, Carolina, Guaynabo and San Juan,” Public Safety Secretary Elmer Román said.

Román added that the police tourist area units will be reactivated.

“The governor asked us to work together in certain areas of forensic analysis, ballistics in Forensic Sciences, to accelerate the solving of cases,” he said.

How are violent crimes cases going to be solved when Forensics still has a dearth of pathologists to perform autopsies, Caribbean Business asked.

“There is an open call for forensic pathologists; the salary is going to be adjusted to be higher, and we are looking for talent through the associations to bring those pathologists. We believe that with eight to 10 pathologists, we will solve the situation in Forensics,” Román replied.

In an aside with the press before meeting the governor, the district attorney said the appointment of federal prosecutor Olga Castellón, who currently serves as attorney general, expires next month.

“Prosecutor Castellón will return, God willing, on September 30 to our office,” Rodríguez said.

—Follow Limarys Suárez on Twitter @Limarys_Suarez.

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