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FBI looking into allegations of Puerto Rican government officials withholding hurricane relief supplies

On Thursday, the FBI confirmed that it is currently looking into allegations that local Puerto Rican government officials are withholding hurricane relief supplies. However, there is no official investigation into the allegations at this time.

“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.

“They’re supposedly withholding these goods and these supplies and instead of handing them out to people who really need them, [there are claims] that [local officials] are assigning them to their buddies first–people that have voted for them or people that contributed to their campaigns or what not.

“So what we’re doing is looking into these allegations. That I can tell you is happening. Again, I cannot say that we have any ongoing investigation. We’re just corroborating these allegations.

“We’ll distribute the [goods and supplies] because we have to follow certain protocols, and that’s what [local officials] said they were doing, when they were waiting for federal officials to leave, and the allegations are they are handing [relief] out through back doors and stuff like that to their buddies,” FBI Special Agent Carlos Osorio said.

Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, the U.S. federal prosecutor in Puerto Rico, said that she is also looking into the allegations and will criminally prosecute anyone who withholds relief supplies.

"We are not going to individualize it. But, anyone who is withholding supplies is in violation of federal and state law.

"Yesterday there was a government official from a municipality who gave everything he had to deliver very fast and it prevented us from charging him, and I suspect that now there will be many more who do not want to keep the supplies. But, definitely, what we get will be processed," Rodriguez said.

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