A former head of the Puerto Rico Police Department who is now running for the island's Senate said Monday that the U.S. commonwealth has become a "narco state."
Miguel Pereira, a one-time federal prosecutor, told reporters that drug trafficking had infiltrated into all sectors of the Caribbean island.
The senatorial hopeful emphasized that if he enters the legislature he will promote providing medical treatment for drug addicts as a means for combating trafficking and consumption of narcotics in Puerto Rico, one of the main problems on the island and the cause of hundreds of deaths each year due to violence between rival gangs of dealers.
"Drug trafficking touches all spheres of Puerto Rico. We have the influence of drug trafficking in all our branches of government, at all levels of our society," Pereira said.
The former PRPD superintendent said that despite the worrying period through which the island is passing the situation can be changed, something that he said already had occurred in a country that had been besieged by drugs for decades: Colombia.
"Colombia has adopted a healthier strategy and things are improving," he said regarding the evolution of the problem of drug consumption in the South American nation.
Pereira, 64, is running in the 2012 elections on the ticket of the main opposition PPD.
The fiery comments come as the island's 2011 murder rate is inching toward 1,000.