News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2012
Contact: SA Laila Rico
Public Information Officer
Number: (787) 277-4700

5 Individuals Indicted for Drug Trafficking and Drive-By Shooting

L-R:  PRPD Superintendent Emilio Diaz Colon, AUSA Jose Capo, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Pedro Janer, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez,  and AUSAs Sean Torriente, Brian Kidd and Timothy Henwood.  U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez announced the indictment of five individuals as a result of an investigation by DEA. DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Pedro Janer answers questions for the media during a press conference held for Operation Tough Karma.
L-R: PRPD Superintendent Emilio Diaz Colon, AUSA Jose Capo, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Pedro Janer, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez, and AUSAs Sean Torriente, Brian Kidd and Timothy Henwood. U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez announced the indictment of five individuals as a result of an investigation by DEA.
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Pedro Janer answers questions for the media during a press conference held for Operation Tough Karma.

SAN JUAN – On January 18, 2012, a federal grand jury indicted five individuals as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Puerto Rico and Pennsylvania, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Puerto Rico Police Department, United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced today. The defendants are charged in a seven-count indictment with: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, drive-by shooting, use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and possession of a machine-gun.

Between August and September 2011, Oscar Sánchez-Martínez, aka “Mayer” or “Gordo;” Estevan Hernández-Claudio, aka “Salsa;” Charles Pizarro-García, aka “Char” or “Negro;” Oscar Valdes-García, aka “Pony” or “Ulysses;” and Anthony González-Vega, aka “Toti” or “El Satélite” conspired to possess with intent to distribute crack, cocaine, heroin, and marihuana within 1,000 feet of the Public Housing Project Manuel A. Pérez.

Defendant Sánchez-Martínez is facing two charges of drive-by shooting, one of which resulted in death, two charges of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and two charges of possession of a machinegun.

On August 15, 2011, Sánchez-Martínez fired a fully automatic weapon into a group of people.

On August 21, 2011, Sánchez-Martínez, aided and abetted by Hernández-Claudio and Pizarro-García and others, fired a fully automatic weapon into a group of people, injuring three innocent bystanders and killing Eizer Rivera-Molina. These defendants were arrested yesterday, January 23, 2012.

The remaining two defendants, Valdes-García and González-Vega, were part of the drug trafficking organization and participated during the conspiracy. They were arrested on Friday, January 20, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“Violent drug organizations hold our communities hostage and promulgate fear, intimidation and violence, threatening the well being of law abiding citizens,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “This investigation has taken dangerous criminals off the streets of Puerto Rico who deliberately shot against a group of people and killed one person. The charging document includes two separate counts of drive-by shooting, which is the first case indicted in the District of Puerto Rico of this nature; and we will continue sending a clear message to other violent gangs that we will break their grip on our communities and bring them to justice.”

“As the lead agency in the fight against drugs, DEA is committed to significantly reduce the drug related murders that plagued Puerto Rico this past year. Let this be a strong and clear message to all those narco-criminal organizations that use murder, intimidation and gun violence to further their criminal activities. We will not rest until each and every one of them is put behind bars for a long period,” said Pedro Janer, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Caribbean Division. “The law is on our side, so anyone doing drive-by shootings, murders for hire, and carrying or using any kind of firearm while trafficking drugs will simply go to jail. DEA takes these kinds of crimes extremely serious, and their prison terms will show it.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian K. Kidd and Sean Torriente of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Unit. This unit operates under the Narcotics Unit and will exclusively handle drive-by shootings and other significant racketeering and organized crime prosecutions. This unit is yet another component of our initiative against violent crime and illegal firearms.

If convicted, three of the defendants could face the death penalty. The other two defendants face up to 40 years of imprisonment. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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