Cocaine smuggling from Puerto Rico into central Florida on the rise

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Drug smuggling from Puerto Rico to Orlando has become an issue that officials said is getting more attention from law enforcement agencies.

There have been three cases of people accused of trafficking cocaine to central Florida from Puerto Rico in the past month. Authorities said the cocaine has been found being sent through the U.S. mail and smuggled on commercial planes.

In 2012, Eyewitness News was in Puerto Rico when the Drug Enforcement Administration raided an airport in San Juan and arrested airport and American Airlines employees. Now a top military official is telling Congress that cocaine trafficking and violence on routes from Puerto Rico into Florida is a national security concern.

In one recent arrest, Jose Crespo was allegedly receiving kilos of cocaine in the mail at his Orlando home from Puerto Rico. Investigators said Crespo was also getting packages at his girlfriend's house. The packages were concealed in boxes with electronics such as video games and headphones, according to authorities.

Neighbors who live in the area said the smuggling is concerning.

"I couldn't imagine those things happening here," Nelly Vasquez said.

In another case, Erickson Leandry is accused of packaging cocaine from Puerto Rico and distributing it in canned goods. A third person arrested was Janiel Montanez Rodriguez, who was allegedly caught with 3 kilos in his carry-on bag at Orlando International Airport after a flight from Puerto Rico.