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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2002

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT
Special Agent Waldo P. Santiago
Public Information Officer
800-718-0781

DEA DISMANTLES HEROIN AND COCAINE TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION OPERATING IN THE SAN JUAN METRO AREA

Cocaine Hydrochloride (HCI)
Cocaine Hydrochloride (HCI)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Guillermo Gil, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico and Rogelio Guevara, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Caribbean Field Division, announced today the arrest of five members of a heroin and cocaine distribution organization operating in the San Juan-Metropolitan Area of Puerto Rico. The investigation, initiated by the DEA San Juan Field Office on September of 1998 and which followed the organization activities through August of 1999, revealed that the members of this organization distributed multi kilogram quantities of cocaine and heroin, throughout the San Juan, Puerto Rico Metro Area.

This drug trafficking organization distributed cocaine in kilogram quantities at a price ranging from $15,000 to $18,000 per kilogram, and heroin in one-eighth-kilogram (125 grams) quantities at a price ranging from $9,000 to $10,000. The organization principal members are Julio LAGUNA-Estela, alias Miguelito, identified as the source of supply of the heroin distributed by the organization, and Irwin Luis FIGUEROA-Rodriguez alias Peter, identified as the source of supply of the cocaine distributed by the organization. In addition, Jesus TOCUYO-Gonzalez, alias Chuito, is identified as the principal distributor of cocaine and heroin for the organization.

This morning, a contingent of over 50 federal and local law enforcement agents simultaneously executed 10 arrest warrants in the Puerto Rican towns of Toa Alta, Catano, Bayamon, Toa Baja, San Juan, and Ponce. The arrest warrants were issued on March 5, 2002, pursuant to a Federal Grand Jury indictment charging the members of the organization with distribution and conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin in violation to Title 21 United States Code, Section: 841(a)(1) and 846 (Federal Controlled Substances Act) between September of 1998 and August of 1999. The indictment alleges that the members of this organization used pagers and cellular telephones to communicate with each other for the purpose of facilitating their drug trafficking activities. The indictment further alleges that the members of this organization used nicknames, veiled or coded language and/or references in their telephone and other conversations to describe their drug trafficking transactions..

The individuals arrested today are:

1. Jesus TOCUYO-Gonzalez, alias Chuito, Urbanizacion Estancias de la Fuente, Calle Principe, AA-15, Toa Alta, PR
2. Irwin Luis FIGUEROA-Rodriguez, alias Peter, alias Joel Caraballo-Claudio, Urbanizacion Las Vegas, Guanabana Street, 0-15, Catano, PR.
3. Rafael GONZALEZ-Santana, alias Wito, Urbanizacion Sierra Bayamon, Calle 39-9, Bloque 35, Bayamon, PR.
4. Jose HEREDIA-Nieves, alias Checo, V-20 Calle Ladi, Levittown, Toa Baja, PR
5. Cruz ESCOBAR-Negron, alias Pucho, Urbanizacion Jardines del Caribe, Calle 1 #209, Ponce, PR.

Two defendants had advised that they would surrender voluntarily trough their defense attorneys. Defendant Julio LAGUNA-Estela, alias Miguelito, was already incarcerated at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, PR. Defendant Rafael GUZMAN-Rodriguez, alias Parkinson, alias Fin, remains a fugitive and is being sought jointly by the DEA and the U.S. Marshals Service's Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force. The indictment is an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial.

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