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83 Individuals Indicted for Drug Trafficking in the Municipality of San Juan

MAR 05 (SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) - On March 1st, 2012, a federal grand jury returned two separate indictments against 83 individuals as a result of two investigations led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), announced today by United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.

According to the first indictment, 41 defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute “crack” (cocaine base,) heroin, cocaine, marihuana, Oxycodone (commonly known as Percocet) and Alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax).  The object of the conspiracy was to distribute controlled substances at the Dr. López Sicardó Public Housing Project and other areas nearby and within the Municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for significant financial gain.  The main leader of the organization was Gregorio Cardenas-Marquez, (aka “Tio”, “Gre”), who directly controlled the drug trafficking activities.  Cardenas- Marquez also purchased and transported wholesale amounts of narcotics that were delivered to co-conspirators for further distribution at the drug points. 

The 41 co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: one leader, six drug point owners (including the leader), one supplier, two enforcers, four runners, 25 sellers and three facilitators. 

It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that a co-conspirator prepared and possessed a list of the rules that were to be followed at all times by the members of the drug trafficking organization.  The rules included the following: shifts were not to be changed without authorization; those who were not scheduled to work should not show up at the drug point; look-outs had to be paid for their work; all members should have a scanner; a maximum of two “materials” (narcotics) should be distributed at each drug point; customers should be allowed to request what narcotics they want to purchase, without taking money from their hands; and  members of the organization were not allowed to fight against each other. 

It was further a part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that during the course of the conspiracy, basketball games were organized by the co-conspirators in which the teams of various drug points were identified by the same color used to label the drugs or “material” that they worked with or owned. In addition, the members of the drug trafficking organization would possess, carry, use, brandish and/or use firearms in order to protect themselves and their drug trafficking business. Ten members of the drug trafficking organization are facing one count for using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

The second indictment charges 42 defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute “crack” (cocaine base,) heroin, cocaine, marihuana, Oxycodone (commonly known as Percocet) and Alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax).  The object of the conspiracy was to distribute controlled substances at the Los Peña Public Housing Project and other areas nearby and within the Municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for significant financial gain.  The main leader of the organization was Evelio Rosario-Rosado, aka “Casper”, “Cuquito”, “Cuqui”, “El Boss”.

The 42 co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: one leader, four drug point owners (including the leader), four runners, 29 sellers and five facilitators. Eight members of the drug trafficking organization are facing one count for using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

Both drug trafficking organizations face a narcotics forfeiture allegation of 10 million dollars.

“Today’s arrests stand as a warning to those individuals whose greed drives them to pollute our streets and schools with poisonous contraband. Our message to drug vendors is – deal at your own risk. We are going to find you and you are going pay a severe and certain penalty in federal court,” said Pedro Janer, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Caribbean Division.

“The criminal activity laid out in these indictments is extensive, however, our commitment to continue our fight against these offenders is unwavering,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.  “This extensive investigation has taken dangerous drug traffickers off our streets, and they will face justice for their crimes.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Teresa Zapata-Valladares.

If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $10 million.  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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