News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2008
For Information Contact:
DEA
Waldo P. Santiago
Public Information Officer
787-277-4700
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Lymarie V. Llovet-Ayala
Public Affairs Specialist
(787) 282-1820; (787) 340-1835

Ponce Strike Force "Operation Greyskull" Yields 60 Arrests
in Puerto Rico

operation greyskullAug 26 -- SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - This morning, as part of an OCDETF - Ponce Strike Force operation, dubbed Operation Greyskull, federal, state and local officers conducted simultaneous take-downs in the municipalities of Cayey, Salinas, Guayama, Coamo, Santa Isabel, and Jayuya, Puerto Rico that resulted in the arrest of 60 individuals for their alleged participation in a drug trafficking conspiracy.

On August 5, 2008, a federal grand jury approved the indictment of 71 individuals charged with violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 846, 853, 860 and 881; and Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2 and 924(o).

According to the indictment, the object of the conspiracy was to purchase wholesale quantities of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, Oxycodone (Percocet), and Alprazolam (Xanax) for distribution at several public housing projects in Cayey, Puerto Rico, and at drug distribution points in the municipalities of Salinas, Coamo, Santa Isabel, Guayama, and Jayuya, Puerto Rico, all for a significant financial gain and profit.

The indictment further alleges that some of the cocaine purchased was cooked in order to make cocaine-based crack that was later distributed, along with heroin, cocaine and marijuana, in small bags at the drug selling points. The leaders of the organization divided the proceeds of the drug trafficking sales among themselves and their subordinates.

The charging document also alleges that some of the co-conspirators used residences in order to package and conceal the controlled substances as well as the materials to process the same. The seventy one (71) individuals charged in the indictment had different roles in the conspiracy, such as: leaders, suppliers, runners, enforcers, and facilitators to further the goals of the conspiracy.

This case is yet another excellent example of how teamwork among federal, state and local agencies can disrupt the flow of illegal drugs into our communities, said Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. "By pooling our information and resources, federal, state and local law enforcement partners have been able to work aggressively to keep drugs off our streets, and to dismantle the violent criminal networks that profit from narcotics trafficking."

"Today DEA joins forces with our ICE, FBI and PRPD counterparts in stopping what once was a powerful drug trafficking organization from spreading the violence of their criminal activities and the venom of their illegal drug business throughout the central region of Puerto Rico. DEA will continue supporting the U.S. Attorney's Strike Force, HIDTA initiative and OCDETF program with DEA's unique expertise and resources to combat drug trafficking regardless where it is taking place in the island. Today we demonstrate once again that working as a team is the key to success," said DEA Caribbean Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Vito S. Guarino.

“The importation of illegal narcotics into the United States is a very serious crime and the unscrupulous persons involved will not receive reprieve from law enforcement," said Manuel Oyola Torres, special agent-in-charge of ICE Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. "In our efforts to keep drugs off the streets of Puerto Rico, we will continue using all of our resources to identify and dismantle drug trafficking and money laundering organizations that operate within our jurisdiction."

“It is evident that the outlying towns and cities of Puerto Rico, like Cayey, are no longer sheltered from drug trafficking, gangs and violent crime”, said Luis Fraticelli, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office. “With this law enforcement action today, it should send a clear message that we are going to fight crime whenever and wherever in Puerto Rico”.

The investigation was conducted the DEA, FBI, and ICE under the OCDETF program. The ATF, USMS, Puerto Rico Police, Puerto Rico Special Investigations Bureau, the San Juan Municipal Police and the Puerto Rico National Guard Counterdrug Support Task Force also collaborated with the investigation. The case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Ponce Strike Force, a Project Safe Neighborhood initiative targeting violent drug trafficking gangs and gung related violent crimes. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jose Capo-Iriarte and Myriam Fernández, under the supervision of Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Guillermo Gil-Bonar.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

###