FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2007
Twelve Individuals Arrested on Charges of Narcotics Trafficking
and Armed Robbery
SEP 5 -- Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami Field Division, R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Robert Parker, Director, Miami Dade Police Department, Julie Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF), Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Amos Rojas, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, announced a joint federal and state task force arrested twelve individuals between August 23, and August 26, 2007, at the conclusion of a three-week investigation targeting narcotics trafficking and armed robbery groups operating in the south Florida area. To date, twelve defendants have been arrested in two federal cases: Onel Salgado, Rene Gonzalez Perez, Reinier Gonzalez Pereira, Roberto Davila, Luis Fernandez, Amilka del Monte, Ernesto Martin, Adam Rodriguez, Pedro Fernandez, Ruben Salazar, Hector Leyva, and Virgilio Llanes. Evidence seized included nine firearms, 18 kilograms of cocaine, 31 pounds of marijuana, narcotics and robbery paraphernalia, including stockings, ski masks and multiple pairs of handcuffs.
The investigation started after the Miami Dade Police Department learned that Onel Salgado was believed to be involved in the organization of armed robberies occurring in the south Florida area. The investigation was spearheaded by detectives with the HIDTA Street Terror Offender Program (STOP), a multi-agency task force that was formed specially to target violent narcotics related robberies associated with the south Florida drug trade. As the investigation progressed, the investigating agents and detectives uncovered not only evidence regarding the defendants’ intent to rob check cashing stores, but also marijuana grow houses, and the distribution of kilograms of cocaine.
a. The Home Invasion
According to a complaint filed in federal court, Onel Salgado, Rene Gonzalez Perez, Reinier Gonzalez Pereira, Roberto Davila, Luis Fernandez, Amilka del Monte were arrested after a successful sting operation. On August 21, 2007, the defendants were arrested on their way to commit an armed robbery of 20 to 25 kilograms of cocaine, at what they believed to be a stash house. When the defendants were arrested, five firearms were recovered from their possession, including a semi-automatic rifle with the bayonet, a shotgun, three semi-automatic pistols and pepper spray. According to statements made by the prosecutor during the defendants’ August 30, 2007, detention hearing, some of the defendants have been linked to other robberies or robbery attempts under investigation. The defendants have presently been charged by complaint on federal narcotics and firearm charges. Each defendant is exposed to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The government has requested all five defendants be held without bond.
b. The Cocaine Case
The investigation also resulted in related group’s plan to distribute kilograms of cocaine in the south Florida area. As the result of the investigation, on August 23, 2007, Ernesto Martin, Adam Rodriguez, Pedro Fernandez, Ruben Salazar, Hector Leyva, and Virgilio Llanes were arrested for their role in a conspiracy to distribute kilograms of cocaine. According to the complaint and statement by the federal prosecutor during the defendant’s August 30, 2007, pretrial detention hearing, Ernesto Martin, Adam Rodriguez and Pedro Fernandez were arrested with 18 kilograms of cocaine in their car. Ruben Salazar, Hector Leyva and Virgilio Llanes were subsequently arrested during the course of the day for their alleged participation in the charged conspiracy. All six men have been charged with conspiring to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, a charge which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Leyva and Llanes have also been charged with the possession and firearms charges related to handguns and marijuana found in their respective homes on the date of their arrest.
“With these arrests, the streets of Miami are safer today. DEA is committed to ridding communities of drugs and the violence that accompanies this death trade," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. “We stand together with our federal and local partners in law enforcement to make our communities safer.”
R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, stated, “This case is yet another example of the extraordinary working relationship that exists between state and federal law enforcement agencies in south Florida. The collective work of these diligent agents and officers prevented any further harm from affecting the people of the Southern District of Florida. I am pleased that my office was able to be the conduit that allowed this investigation to succeed.” Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement, Miami Dade Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
Director Robert Parker of the Miami-Dade Police Department said, “This case exemplifies the cooperative effort between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in combating violent crime. As a result of this cooperation, 12 violent criminals intent on harming citizens of Miami-Dade County, were arrested. The fact that 11 firearms, to include an assault rifle, were confiscated continues to reinforce our commitment to getting guns off the streets in our community.”
“The citizens of Miami, can breathe a little easier thanks to the arrests last week of these 12 armed violent criminals by members of our multi agency task force. Members on all levels of the of the Law Enforcement Community in south Florida remain relentless in their efforts to reduce violent crime and rid our streets of armed thugs. ATF in conjunction with our partners will continue to implement unique law enforcement initiatives to end the gun violence that erodes the quality of life in our neighborhoods.” said Julie Torres, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Miami Field Division.
Special Agent in Charge Jonathan I. Solomon of the FBI stated, “These defendants were members of a violent and dangerous criminal organization that had ties with California based gangs. They perpetrated armed robberies, drug rip offs, and drug trafficking and the community is much safer now that they off the streets. The speed in which charges were brought demonstrates the excellent cooperation among all south Florida law enforcement agencies.”
“This case exemplifies the partnership between state, local and federal agencies in attacking the increase in violent crimes that are impacting our country.” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Amos Rojas, Jr. “These types of criminals represent the worst of the worst offenders who are committing robberies, trafficking in drugs and putting our citizens in danger.”