Vice President Bush yesterday announced a wide-ranging battery of new weapons, from Navy destroyers to tougher flight rules, for the war on growing crime in South Florida.
South Florida is the nation's No. 1 entry point for illegal drugs from South America, and the drug underworld and thousands of hard-core Cuban criminals who arrived among the 1980 Cuban boatlift refugees have helped give Miami the nation's highest per capita homicide rate.
On Jan. 28 President Reagan appointed Bush to direct a special Cabinet-level task force on South Florida crime, saying the Miami area has "experienced difficulties no other community could ever anticipate."
In a luncheon speech to a group called Miami Citizens Against Crime, Bush said Navy destroyers will help the Coast Guard in intercepting suspected drug boats and boats carrying illegal aliens, the U.S. Customs Service will get a "300 percent" increase in its fleet of U.S. Army helicopters and the Federal Aviation Administration has agreed to issue tough new rules for aircraft entering Florida.
He also said the United States and Bolivia have reached agreement on a plan for "eradication of coca," used in legal medications but also the base for illegal cocaine, beyond "normal production." Bush said United States Chief Justice Warren E. Burger also had agreed to assign more federal judges to Miami.