Efforts to clean up corruption in Puerto Rico bore fruit after federal agents arrested a senator along with seven others on Wednesday.
Senator Abel Nazario of the island’s New Progressive Party was nabbed by the FBI for the second time in two years, this time stemming from bribery related to programs receiving federal funds.
The U.S. territory has struggled to recover after being devastated by the monster storm in 2017, largely as a result of systemic corruption and crooked politicians the likes of Nazario.
The FBI arrested a Puerto Rico senator for the second time in two years https://t.co/Fb6qzsthPe
— Bloomberg (@business) November 6, 2019
Via Bloomberg News, “Puerto Rico Senator Among Eight Arrested in Raids by U.S. FBI”:
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested a Puerto Rico senator from the island’s ruling New Progressive Party for a second time in as many years, along with seven others in the latest corruption-related crackdown in U.S. territory, local media reported.
Abel Nazario, who represents an at-large district in Puerto Rico’s senate and previously served as mayor of the southern town of Yauco, had previously been arrested in September 2018 and charged with alleged payroll irregularities during his 2001-2017 tenure as Yauco’s mayor.
The El Vocero newspaper reported that the new arrests focused on the granting of contracts and payments to contractors who then undertook no work. Attempts to reach Nazario for comment were unsuccessful.
FBI spokesperson Limary Cruz-Rubio said that the San Juan office could confirm that 8 people were arrested without incident early Wednesday in different parts of the island and that the U.S. Attorney in Puerto Rico would issue a press release later with more details.
Senator Abel Nazario Quiñones Indicted And Arrested For Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds. https://t.co/Or5xWibgqV
— U.S. Attorney PR (@USAO_PR) November 6, 2019
Additional details according to an official Justice Department statement on the arrest:
In August 2016, during a routine audit of the Municipality’s records, the PR Comptroller’s Office discovered that there were irregular employees paid by the Municipality of Yauco who either never showed up for work, or showed up sporadically.
During the years 2014 until 2016, the defendants conspired and agreed with each other to knowingly embezzle, steal, obtain by fraud, or otherwise without authority convert to the use of any person other than the rightful owner, or intentionally misapply, property valued at more than $5,000.00 that was owned by, or under the care and custody of the Municipality of Yauco. All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 666(a)(1)(A).
Puerto Rico and its residents have been exploited by cynical and crass U.S. Democrats who see the Caribbean island as a political prize and have hammered President Trump over the disbursement of aid as well as the official death toll for two years.
Don’t expect Nazario to take the high road by resigning as he awaits trial, his office claims that he is innocent and he likely has even more corrupt friends in high places with those Democrats who are in positions to pull some strings on his behalf.