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Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands offer more than sun and sand to the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agents stationed at the San Juan Resident Office.

This office, which covers the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, combines intense investigative opportunities with the diplomatic challenges our agents experience overseas; making San Juan one of the most unique DSS domestic assignments.

This resident office, like the other DSS domestic offices, is responsible for criminal investigations, protective operations, and law enforcement liaison activities, but the similarities end there.

Speaking Spanish is a must when conducting investigative field work and while working with Puerto Rican law enforcement around the island. The DSS agents in San Juan work side-by-side with the Puerto Rico Police Department who share their knowledge of the local culture and environment, and investigative law enforcement contacts. This relationship is so critical that the San Juan Resident Office is the only DSS domestic office to lead a task force. This task force includes permanently assigned officers from the Puerto Rico Police Department who assist the DSS San Juan Resident Office personnel in investigations of passport, visa, and identity fraud.

Due to widespread fraudulent use of Puerto Rican identity documents, more than 30 percent of all DSS passport fraud cases involve documents from the island commonwealth, making agents at the San Juan Resident Office key players in the DSS investigations program.

Complicating matters, numerous island nations within close proximity to San Juan, provide refuge opportunities to suspects. Within hours, a case can turn from investigating a suspect to returning a fugitive, requiring the agents at the San Juan Resident Office to work with the local U.S. Attorney’s Office and DSS investigative offices overseas to locate the fugitive and seek extradition back to Puerto Rico.

It’s all in a day’s work at the San Juan Resident Office.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future