News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 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

DEA Seizes $13.5 Million Worth of Cocaine in Puerto Rico
ICE, CBP take part in joint operation that leads to six arrests

ICE SAC Manuel Oyola and DEA ASAC Joseph Shepherd with U.S. Attorney Rosa Rodriguez addressing the reporters during the news conference.
ICE SAC Manuel Oyola and DEA ASAC Joseph Shepherd with U.S. Attorney Rosa Rodriguez addressing the reporters during the news conference.

OCT 28 -- SAN JUAN, P.R. – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) special agents, working jointly with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspectors, arrested 6 members of a drug trafficking organization who were surprised off-loading a 45 foot cargo container that had just arrived in a motor vessel from the Dominican Republic. While conducting a routine inspection of the containers which arrived in Puerto Rico, members of the CBP noticed an anomaly in the container and subjected the container to an extensive inspection which uncovered approximately 450 kilograms of cocaine, secreted in a hidden compartment.

The container was taken to a warehouse in Carolina and 6 individuals, fully equipped with drilling equipment, were arrested by DEA and ICE special agents as they attempted to retreive the contraband. The six individuals arrested are: Ruben Dario Peña-Báez aka “Papola” , Luciano Trejo-Gutierrez, Miguel Angel Peña-Báez aka “Chapulin”, Miguel Alexis Peña-Báez, Pedro Smart-García, and Ramón Pérez-Nova, all Dominican nationals. They are charged with federal counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to import narcotics. These charges carry a statutory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

DEA agent inspects distinctive markings on seized cocaine.
DEA agent inspects distinctive markings on seized cocaine.

DEA and ICE are in charge of the investigation of this Drug Trafficking Organization. This case has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorneys Elba Gorbea and Carlos R. Cardona from the U.S. Attorney’s Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). The CCSF is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative, directed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean.

The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial and the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

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