Drug Enforcement Administration
Skip Navigation

Press Room
News Releases
E-mail updates red envelope
Speeches & Testimony
Multi-Media Library

About Us
Mission
Leadership
History
Organizational Chart
Programs & Operations
Wall of Honor
DEA Museum
Office Locations

Careers at DEA

DEA Drug Information
Drug Information Resources

Law Enforcement
Most Wanted
Major Operations
Threat Assessment
Training Programs
Stats & Facts
Additional Resources

Drug Prevention
For Young Adults
For Parents
Additional Drug Resources

Diversion Control & Prescription Drugs
Registration
Cases Against Doctors

Drug Policy
Controlled Substances Act
Federal Trafficking Penalties
Drug Scheduling

Legislative Resources

Publications

Acquisitions & Contracts

Need to know more about drugs?  www.justthinktwice.com

GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2004

For Information Contact:
Special Agent Waldo P. Santiago
DEA Public Information Officer
787-775-1727

Mr. Orlando Rios-Walker
Deputy Public Information Officer
U.S. Attorney's Office
787-282-1821

Operation Clear Skies and Operation Dirty Cargo
Twenty-One Individuals Indicted in the District of Puerto for Drug Trafficking Through the Luis Muñoz-Marin International Airport as a Result of Two Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigations

MAR 11--SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - United States Attorney H.S. Garcia, District of Puerto Rico and Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in the Caribbean, announced today the arrest of 20 airline employees engaged in drug trafficking trough the Luis Muñoz-Marin International Airport as a result of two (2) investigations. These investigations were conducted jointly by the DEA Caribbean Division’s Luis Muñoz-Marin International Airport Operation (LMMIAP) Jetway Task Force, the Police of Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Organized Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program.

OCDETF Operation Clear Skies investigation targeted the drug trafficking activities of a group of employees and former employees of Ponce Air Services (PAS) at the LMMIAP from February to November of 2003. On March 3, 2004, a federal grand jury indicted 12 employees of PAS, on several drug trafficking charges, in violation of Title 21 USC Sections 841(a)(1), 846, 853(a)(1) and (2). The indictment accuses the PAS employees with transporting over 200 kilograms of Cocaine and 5 kilograms of Heroin from the LMMIAP to the airports of Newark, New Jersey, New York’s La Guardia; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, aboard Continental Airlines, Spirit Airlines and U.S. Airways flights, respectively, through out the duration of the conspiracy. The indictment alleges that these employees would use their employment for PAS and their access to the airport restricted and secured areas to circumvent security measures at the LMMIAP, to transport controlled substances through the passenger terminal, main gates, baggage claim areas, airline ramp areas and by-pass the security check points. The employees would place luggage containing cocaine and heroin into commercial flights departing the LMMIAP to the United States.

The following individuals were indicted by the Federal Grand Jury and federal arrest warrants were issued against them by a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of Puerto Rico as a result of OCDETF Operation Clear Skies:

  1. Jose RAMIREZ-Baez, AKA “Casque”; DOB: 05-15-76; PONCE AIR SERVICE Ramp Employee.
  2. Estanislao VALENZUELA, AKA “Chupa”; DOB: 05-07-73; PONCE AIR SERVICE Ramp Employee.
  3. Edwin GONZALEZ; DOB 06-07-73; PONCE AIR SERVICE Ramp Employee.
  4. Carlos JACA-Nazario; DOB: 07-31-73; A/C Technician, has close ties to PAS smuggling cell.
  5. Ian ZAVALA; DOB: 11-20-80; PONCE AIR SERVICE Ramp Employee.
  6. Melvin POUPART-Orengo; DOB: 05-26-77; Ex-LMMIA employee
  7. Francisco QUIJANO-Rivera; DOB: 04-07-72; Professional Basketball player.
  8. Pedro VILLEGAS; DOB: 07-31-76; PONCE AIR SERVICE Ramp Employee Trainer
  9. Wanda RODRIGUEZ-Sosa; DOB: 09-23-73; PONCE AIR SERVICE Ramp Employee.
  10. Saulo HERNANDEZ: DOB: 03-20-81; PONCE AIR SERVICE Auto Mechanic Employee.
  11. Kellnum LANDRAU; DOB: 09-16-74; PONCE AIR SERVICE Ramp Employee.
  12. Luis RIVERA: DOB: 05-03-77: PONCE AIR SERVICE Ramp Employee.

OCDETF Operation Dirty Cargo investigation targeted the drug trafficking activities of a group of employees and former employees of the LMMIAP, American Airlines (AA) and PAS at the LMMIAP from August of 2001 to January of 2004. On March 3, 2004, a federal grand jury indicted 9 employees of AA, on several drug trafficking charges, in violation of Title 21 USC Sections 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), 846, 853(a)(1) and (2) and Title 18 USC

Section 2. The indictment accuses the AA employees with transporting over 40 kilograms of Cocaine from the LMMIAP to the airports of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dallas, Texas, Miami, Florida and New York, New York, aboard American Airlines flights, through out the duration of the conspiracy. The indictment alleges that these employees would their employment at the LMMIAP and their access to the airport restricted and secured areas to circumvent security measures at the LMMIAP, to transport controlled substances through the passenger terminal, main gates, baggage claim areas, airline ramp areas and by-pass the security check points. The employees would place luggage containing cocaine and heroin into commercial flights departing the LMMIAP to the United States.

The following individuals were indicted by the Federal Grand Jury and federal arrest warrants were issued against them by a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of Puerto Rico as a result of OCDETF Operation Dirty Cargo:

  1. Francisco LOPEZ-Hernandez; DOB:12/8/67; San Juan, PR; American Airlines Fleet Service Employee
  2. Orlando MARRERO-Rosado; DOB: 1/14/80; Corozal, Puerto Rico; Ponce Air Service Fleet Service Employee
  3. Carlos ORTIZ-Santiago; DOB:10/13/73; Corozal, Puerto Rico; American Airlines Fleet Service Ex-Employee
  4. Francisco Loren OTERO-Cruz; DOB: 9/22/68; Dorado, Puerto Rico; American Airlines Fleet Service Employee
  5. Danielo PARES-Santiago; DOB:12/16/74; Morovis, Puerto Rico; Air Conditioning Mechanic
  6. Omar A. PARILLA-Roman; DOB: 1/11/80; Carolina, Puerto Rico; American Airlines Fleet Service Employee
  7. Edgardo Lorenzo RIVERA; DOB: 2/8/78; Miami, Florida; American Airlines Fleet Service Employee
  8. Axel RIVERA-Cruz; DOB: 8/6/74; Barceloneta, Puerto Rico; American Airlines Fleet Service Employee
  9. Victor VARGAS-Sanchez; DOB:12/16/69; Conovanas, Puerto Rico; American Airlines Fleet Service Ex-Employee

Penalties for convictions of the offenses alleged in the indictment, range from ten (10) years of imprisonment, to a maximum of life, and fines up to $4,000,000.00 dollars. These cases will be prosecuted by Assistants U.S. Attorney’s Carlos Martinez and Timothy Henwood. The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial. The government has the burden of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Home USDOJ.GOV Privacy Policy Contact Us Site Map