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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2005

For Information Contact:

Waldo P. Santiago
DEA/CD News Media Representative
800-718-0781

Orlando Rios-Walker
USAO/DPR Deputy PAO
787-766-5656

OPERATION PRIMER IMPACTO
Four Drug Trafficking Organizations Dismantled in Salinas, Arroyo, Guayama and Palés Matos Public Housing Project


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - H.S. Garcia, United States Attorney, District of Puerto Rico, and Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced the arrest of 33 members of four (4) drug trafficking organizations (DTO) operating in the Municipalities of Arroyo, Guayama, Salinas, Puerto Rico (PR). These individuals were arrested pursuant to a Federal Grand Jury indictments issued on May 3, 2005, charging these individuals with violations of the Federal Controlled Substances Act and other Federal criminal statutes.

The following defendants were indicted by the Grand Jury in the Salinas, PR case:


1. MATEO MALDONADO-CABRERA, aka “Teo”
2. JAVIER REYES-TORRES, aka “Hector”
3. NORMA I. CARTAGENA, aka “Ive”
4. RAUL MEDINA-CRUZ, aka “Junito”
5. NORMA J. FLORES-COLON, aka “Judith”
6. LUIS D. MARTINEZ-RUIZ, aka “Davisito”
7. RUBEN LUGO-CARTAGENA, aka “Rubencito”
8. JOSEAN PIÑERO-RODRIGUEZ, aka “Josean”
9. JOSE MIGUEL VEGA-RIVERA, aka “Gelin”
10. MARCOS CHUPANI-MALAVE, aka “Marquitos”

The above defendants have been charged with violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 (a)(1); 846; 853 and 881.

The indictment alleges that from about 1996 up to the date of the indictment the above defendants conspired, possessed with the intent to distribute and distributed more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 50 grams of crack cocaine and heroin at a drug distribution point in the area of Las Mareas Ward in Salinas, PR. The indictment identifies MATEO MALDONADO-CABRERA, aka “Teo” and JAVIER REYES-TORRES, aka “Hector as the leaders and managers of this DTO. The indictment identifies the remaining defendants as runners, drug processors, sellers and shift supervisors. The indictment contains drug forfeiture allegation seeking the forfeiture of any and all property and proceeds from the defendants in the amount of $1,000.000 dollars.

The following defendants were indicted by the Grand Jury in the Guayama and Arroyo, PR case:

1. JOEL RIVERA-DELGADO, aka “Joel Tavin”, aka “Barney”
2. JESSIE RIVERA-DELGADO
3. EDGAR POMALES-LEBRON
4. OMAR COLON, aka “Omy”
5. LUIS ORLANDO MARTINEZ-LEBRON, aka “Guavy”
6. OMAR CARABALLO-Garcia

The above defendants have been charged with violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 (a)(1) and (b)(1)(A); 846, 853 and 881 and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.

The indictment alleges that from about 1998 up to the date of the indictment the above defendants conspired, possessed with the intent to distribute and distributed more than 50 grams of crack cocaine at a drug distribution point in the area of Barrio Olimpo located in Guayama, PR and Barrio Laurel, located in Arroyo, PR. The indictment identifies JOEL RIVERA-DELGADO, aka “Joel Tavin”, aka “Barney”, and JESSIE RIVERA-DELGADO as the leaders this DTO and owners of the drug distribution points. The indictment identifies EDGARDO POMALES-LEBRON as manager/runner of the drug points and the remaining defendants as sellers. The indictment contains drug forfeiture allegation seeking the forfeiture of any and all property and proceeds from the defendants in the amount of $1,000.000 dollars.

The following defendants were indicted by the Grand Jury in the Guayama, PR case:

1. JOEL COLON-COLON
2. CARLOS COLON-COLON, aka “Pitbull”
3. ERNIE BERMUDEZ-DIAZ
4. JOSE TORRES-VAZQUEZ, aka “Hitler”
5. FRANCISCO CARDONA-DIAZ, aka “Frank”
6. LUIS ALVAREZ-LOPEZ, aka “Cano”
7. EMANUEL PEREZ-ROMAN
8. A MINOR

The above defendants have been charged with violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 (a)(1) and (b)(1)(A); 846 and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.

The indictment alleges that from about 2000 up to the date of the indictment the above defendants conspired, possessed with the intent to distribute and distributed more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, and 50 grams of crack cocaine at a drug distribution points in the area of Barrio Corazon located in Guayama, PR. The indictment identifies JOEL COLON-COLON, CARLOS COLON-COLON, aka “Pitbull”, and ERNIE BRMUDEZ-DIAZ as the leaders of this DTO and owners of the drug distribution points. The indictment identifies FRANCISCO CARDONA-DIAZ, aka “Frank”, JOSE TORRES-VAZQUEZ, aka “Hitler” and LUIS ALVAREZ-LOPEZ, aka “Cano” as managers/runners of the drug points and the remaining defendants as sellers.

The following defendants were indicted by the Grand Jury in the Pales Matos Public Housing Project case:

1. ANDRES ROQUE-CORTIJO, aka “Vaso”
2. ARTEMIO ORTIZ-NEGRON, aka “Mickey Chuleta”
3. JUAN GONZALEZ-SERRANO, aka “Lobo”
4. LUIS FELICIANO-TORRES, aka “Chester”
5. HECTOR ROQUE-CORTIJO, aka “Febu”
6. JOHNNY RIVERA-ORTIZ, aka “Johnny”
7. SANDRA LAPORTE-SAEZ
8. FRANCISCO LEBRON-LAVOY
9. LUIS ORTIZ-ORTIZ

The above defendants have been charged with violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 (a)(1) and (b)(1)(A); 846; and 860 and Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A) and 2.

The indictment alleges that from about 2002 up to the date of the date of the indictment the above defendants conspired, possessed with the intent to distribute and distributed more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, and 50 grams of crack cocaine, marijuana, and more than 1 kilogram of heroin at several drug distribution points in the area of the Pales Matos Housing Project located in Guayama, PR. The indictment identifies ANDRES ROQUE-CORTIJO as the leaders of this DTO and owner of the drug distribution points. The indictment identifies ARTEMIO ORTIZ-NEGRON, aka “Mickey Chuleta” as the manager and runner for the drug points. JUAN GONZALEZ-SERRANO, aka “Lobo”, LUIS FELICIANO-TORRES, aka “Chester” and HECTOR ROQUE-CORTIJO, aka “Febu” are identified by the indictment as enforcers for this DTO. The remaining defendants are identified in the indictment as sellers.

This case was investigated by law enforcement agents of the DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Ponce, PR Resident Office (PRO) and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico. The DEA HIDTA PRO is a joint task force of law enforcement from the DEA, the PR Police Department (PRPD), the PR Justice Department’s Special Investigations Bureau (NIE), the PR Treasury Department (Hacienda), and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ernesto G. Lopez-Soltero and George A. Massucco-LaTaif.

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 and the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


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