News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2002

DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ARRESTS 11 DRUG TRAFFICKERS
ORGANIZATION IMPORTED AND DISTRIBUTED ASIAN HEROIN
RECOVERY OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DRUG PROCEEDS SOUGHT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - H. S. Garcia, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, and Jerome M. Harris, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Caribbean Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), jointly announced today the arrests of 11 members of a cocaine and heroin trafficking organization based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The organization imported multi kilogram quantities of Asian heroin from the former Soviet Republics of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakstan via parcels shipped by private mail and effected wire transfers of U.S. Currency to Romania as payment for the drugs. The organization also distributed multi kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine from other domestic and international sources throughout Puerto Rico and to other cities in the United States.

These arrests are the result of a Federal Grand Jury indictment returned in the District of Puerto Rico on May 30, 2002, charging 17 members of the organization with possession with the intent to distribute, distribution and conspiracy to distribute kilogram quantities of cocaine and heroin in violation to Title 21 U.S. Code, Sections 841 (a) (1) and 846. The indictment also seeks the criminal forfeiture of all assets and properties amassed by the organization which constitute drug proceeds in the amount of $9,000,000.00 pursuant to Title 18 U.S. Code, Section 982. The indictment charges David VAZQUEZ-Rios, alias Rubio, Cano, Yuco, David, Juan, Isaias Garcia, as source of supply of heroin and cocaine and as an importer of heroin for the organization.

The indictment identifies the distributors of the cocaine and the heroin as: Susoni VELEZ-De Carlo, Jr., alias El Veterano, Suso; Joe VAZQUEZ-Otero, Jorge ROSADO-Sierra, alias Pichi; Raquel RODRIGUEZ-Lagares, alias Raqui; Juan ORENGO-Guerrido, alias Jommy; William VAZQUEZ-Rios, alias Willie; Cesar VAZQUEZ-Rios, alias Cesar; Luis RIVERA-Rosa, alias Nova; Irwin FIGUEROA-Rodriguez, alias Joel Caraballo-Claudio, Peter; Daniel ZAPATA-Aponte, alias Danny; Alexander LOPEZ-Vazquez, alias Alex; Manuel RODRIGUEZ-Quiles, alias Pocho; Javier CRUZ-Denis, alias Murillo; Ramon AYALA-Berdecia, alias Ramoncito; Juan SANTIAGO-Prieto, alias Juan Prieto-Santiago, Carlitos; and Jose ROSADO-Sierra, alias Chelo.

The indictment alleges that the members of the organization used cellular telephones, computers and pagers to facilitate their drug trafficking activities. The indictment further alleges that the organization used aliases, nicknames, veiled or coded languages and other references in their conversations to describe their drug trafficking transactions. The indictments also alleges that the organization carried firearms to protect themselves and the drug proceeds.

Today, a Task Force of 165 federal and commonwealth agents from DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Marshals Service, PR Justice Department's Special Investigations Bureau, PR Treasury Department, and PRPD executed 14 arrests warrants in the Puerto Rican towns of San Juan, Arecibo, Camuy, Hatillo, Cabo Rojo, Mayagüez, Carolina, and Cataño. DEA agents executed two arrest warrants in New York, NY and one in Chicago, Illinois. The agents executed a search warrant at Apartment 4-B, Kingsville, #63 Kings Court, Condado, which resulted in the seizure of ¼ kilogram of cocaine (250 grams). A second search warrant was executed at a residence located on #8 Calle Naranjito, Bonnneville Heights in Caguas, which resulted in the seizure of approximately $30,000.00 in cash, and a Rolex watch, valued at approximately $18,000.00. The Puerto Rico National Guard Counter Drug Support Task Force provided logistical and air support to this operation.

Arrested in today's operation were:

1. Susoni VELEZ-De Carlo, Jr., DOB: 6-10-58, Address: Apt. 4B, Kingsville, #63 Kings Court, Condado, PR.
2. Alexander LOPEZ-Vazquez, DOB: 9-4-75, Address: Apt. 1104, Edificio A, Parque Escorial, Carolina, PR.
3. Juan ORENGO-Guerrido, DOB: 9-15-72, Address: Apt. 1H, Intersuites, Carolina, PR
4. Jorge ROSADO-Sierra, DOB: 12-12-69, Address: #8 Calle Naranjito, Bonnevile Heights, Caguas, PR.
5. Jose ROSADO-Sierra, DOB: 10-28-66, Address: R-5 Calle JM Morales, Idamaris Garden, Caguas, PR.
6. Daniel ZAPATA-Aponte, DOB: 9-26-68, Address: F-25 Calle Delfin, Alturas de Puerto Real, Cabo Rojo, PR.
7. Luis RIVERA-Rosa, DOB: 6-19-70, Address: #1240 Calle Manuel A. Barreto, San Jose, Mayaguez, PR.
8. Juan SANTIAGO-Prieto, DOB: 2-16-72, Address: #6 Calle Acerina, Barrio Amelia, Cataño, PR.
9. Cesar VAZQUEZ-Rios, Arrested in New York.
10. Irwin FIGUEROA-Rodriguez, under the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
11. Ramon AYALA-Berdecia, under the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The following individuals remain as fugitives and are being sought by the U.S. Marshals Service's Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force and the DEA:

1. David VAZQUEZ-Rios, DOB: 11-6-68
2. Raquel RODRIGUEZ-Lagares, DOB: 11-14-75
3. Joe VAZQUEZ-Otero, DOB; 1-8-50
4. William VAZQUEZ-Rios, DOB: 8-7-65
5. Manuel RODRIGUEZ-Quiles, DOB: 11-27-68
6. Javier CRUZ-Denis, DOB: 1-15-76

The indictment is an accusation and all individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty before the U.S. District Court.

For additional information, please contact Public Information Officer Waldo Santiago at the DEA Caribbean Field Division at 787-775-1727.

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