DEA Investigation in Puerto Rico Identifies
SEP 29 -- SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – An investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Puerto Rico resulted in the indictment of 20 individuals accused of trafficking large amounts of heroin, cocaine and marijuana through the U.S. mail. Amongst the individuals charged are 7 individuals employed by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) who facilitated and engaged in drug trafficking activities while on duty and in uniform taking advantage of their jobs as mail carriers. Two of the defendants were charged with using firearms while engaged in drug trafficking activities. The postal employees were also accused of mail theft, defrauding the USPS, and engaging in other fraudulent acts while on duty. The DEA led investigation was conducted jointly with the USPS’ Office of Inspector General (OIG). Agents from the DEA and USPS-OIG, assisted by agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) executed the arrest warrants this morning in Puerto Rico.
During the investigation DEA undercover agents posing as drug traffickers sought and obtained from the mail carriers their corrupt services to ship alleged cocaine and heroin parcels though the U.S. mail. The DEA investigation revealed that the mail carriers facilitated drugs shipments between Puerto Rico, Texas, California and Arizona. DEA estimates that the traffickers shipped thousands of parcels, each containing between 20-25 pounds of marijuana, through the U.S. mail since 2003. Conservative estimates by DEA indicate that in the last 3 years alone these traffickers where able to smuggle well over 100,000 pounds of marijuana into Puerto Rico worth over $150,000,000 on the streets of the island. The DEA investigation also revealed that the mail carriers also facilitated the shipment of firearms from the continental U.S. to Puerto Rico.
The DEA investigation, named Operation Dirty Eagles, was conducted under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program jointly with the USPS-OIG, and with significant assistance of the USPIS and ATF. The PRPD, the San Juan City Police Department and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority Police also collaborated in the investigation.