The FBI has confirmed they are looking into multiple allegations from residents across the island accusing local officials of withholding badly needed FEMA relief supplies.
FBI Special Agent Carlos Osorio told the Daily Caller on Wednesday, “People call us and tell us some misappropriation of some goods and supplies by supposedly politicians, not necessarily mayors, but people that work for the mayors in certain towns.”
One island official is even accused of stuffing his own car full of goods meant for the suffering populace.
“The complaints we’re hearing is that mayors of local municipalities, or people associated with their offices, are giving their political supporters special treatment, goods they’re not giving to other people who need them.”
If arrested and convicted, the profiteers could end up in jail for 5 to 20 years.
At the present time the FBI is looking at six municipalities where the theft and misappropriation is allegedly taking place.
The U.S. government recently had to took over efforts in Puerto Rico to deliver relief goods including food, water, and medicine directly to those in need. On Oct. 8, U.S. troops began handing out the goods directly.
This is very unusual. The Miami Herald reported this was done since some of the local mayors “stumble on the job.”
The San Juan Mayor might be a good place to start if they’re looking for suspicious officials.
Cruz made headlines for accusing President Donald Trump of not delivering relief to the island while surrounded by stacks and stacks of goods. It was soon shown that not only was the Trump administration delivering large amounts of supplies, but in San Juan these supplies were sitting at the port under Cruz’s control and not being delivered.
There were close to 9,500 cargo containers of medicine, food, and other goods stuck at the port of San Juan on Sept. 28, according to CNBC.
Guaynabo Mayor Angel Perez Otero called out Cruz, saying the San Juan mayor was not joining meetings between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. military officials, and Puerto Rican leaders.
“I’ve seen other mayors participating. She’s not,” Perez Otero told The Washington Examiner, adding, “We are receiving a lot of help from FEMA and the Red Cross. … There is lots of help coming to us.”
We should remember that although Puerto Rico is part of the United States, it doesn’t look anything like the U.S.. It’s run like a corrupt Third World country.
Its transportation infrastructure – substandard before the storm – was nearly wiped out by Maria. This led to at least 10,000 shipping containers piling up on the San Juan docks in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Distribution problems persist. Local authorities have done an adequate job in clearing roads so truckers can get through, but some remote areas are still unreachable except by air.
Island residents report that once the supplies are delivered and FEMA moves on, some local officials ignore the rules about distributing aid and use relief supplies as a political weapon.