DEA Caribbean Division and Puerto Rico Financial Institutions Commissioner's Office Join Efforts to Combat Drug Related Financial Crimes and Money Laundering
AUG 25 - San Juan, P.R. – Javier F. Peña, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Caribbean Division, announced today that the DEA and the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF) signed an agreement to direct collaborative efforts towards combating financial crimes related to illicit narcotics trade.
“DEA has a strong financial and anti money laundering investigations program. Through this agreement we will maximize the resources assigned to each agency, improve investigative planning and increase the training and experience both agencies’ personnel” said Javier F. Peña, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division.
Part of this collective agreement allows OCIF to refer cases which arouse suspicion of money laundering or financial criminal activity to the DEA where DEA may have jurisdiction. Assistance during the investigative process will also be provided by OCIF.
DEA agrees to assign investigative equipment and financial/intelligence personnel to serve as points of contact with OCIF. These two targeted focuses will expand the coordinated investigative efforts for both agencies.
“With this Memorandum of Understanding both organizations agree to coordinate their investigative efforts and audits to mutually benefit each agency to meet their responsibilities by combining our areas of expertise and investigative resources to ultimately counteract the money laundering activities and financial crimes associated with the illicit narcotics trade in Puerto Rico”; states Antonio Salvá, Deputy Commissioner of the OCIF.
“The purpose behind this contract is to achieve a holistic solution emphasizing the importance of identifying financial crimes and money laundering activities. On occasions, OCIF has knowledge of characteristic financial activity that sends an alert and may be in fact related to the illicit narcotics traffic, but we cannot intervene because it does not lie within the power the state laws confer upon us”, expressed Salvá, who represented the Commissioner during the signing of the agreement.
As expressed in the Memorandum of Understanding, both OCIF and DEA undertake the responsibility and commitment to refer to each other any investigations on cases which may have ramifications that extend far beyond their jurisdictions. Neither is obliged to yield their jurisdiction over the cases they initiate. In the event a parallel jurisdiction exists between state and local realm, both parties will accord and reach a consensus to determine the next course of action.
This covenant is implemented immediately and will stay in effect until the participating agencies deem otherwise.