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What is being called the largest police corruption investigation in the FBI's history came to a close on Wednesday, October 6. FBI agents arrested almost 130 law enforcement officials in early morning raids in Puerto Rico. Charges for those caught in this culmination of the two year operation will cover many areas of corruption, conspiracy, firearms and drug charges.
Attorney General Eric Holder has told a news conference that police and other officials under indictment allegedly provided security for drug deals in exchange for payments ranging from $500 to $4,500. CBS News reports that officials charged include 60 members of the Puerto Rico Police Department, 16 from municipal police departments,12 officers from the Puerto Rico Corrections Department, as well as National Guard and Army soldiers, administrative officials and civilians. One man was a member of the motor pool of the Governor of Puerto Rico. More than 120 people are currently in custody, while four remain at large.
The FBI dubbed the operation to bring down the corrupt officials "Operation Guard Shack," reports the Miami Herald. Attorney General Holder told the press that from July of 2008, until September 2010, 125 undercover drug transactions were conducted by FBI agents across Puerto Rico. This led to the raids this morning, completed by the 750 agents flown into the area from across the country.
Although many of the corruption charges relate to federal conspiracy, intent to posses and intent to distribute drugs, there are other charges as well. The Herald reports at least one suspect boasted of murder, and another corrections officer who said he smuggled half a pound of marijuana for sale and use at the jail. Police corruption charges can be gathered under the umbrella description of abuse of power for personal gain. However, there are also additional federal laws that prohibit the violation of constitutional rights of individuals by law enforcement officers.
"The great majority of officers in Puerto Rico are honest," Holder told the press conference in Spanish. "We are not going to accept that the actions of some destroy the good work of the majority."
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