OCDETF Operation Mallorca
JUN 16--H.S. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, and David N. Kelley, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, joined by Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Hon. Roberto Sánchez-Ramos, Secretary, Puerto Rico Department of Justice (PRDJ) , Hon. José Lozada, Director, PRDJ Special Investigations, and Hon. Pedro Toledo, Superintendent, Puerto Rico Police Department, announced that on April 8 and April 13, 2005, a Federal Grand Jury indicted three (3) Colombian based money brokers, Gabriel Martínez, Farid Chain, and Edgar De Castro, along with thirty-six (36) additional co-defendants on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to import five (5) or more kilograms of cocaine into the United States. The Grand Jury also charged forfeiture allegations for any proceeds related to the money laundering and drug trafficking charges. Money laundering forfeiture allegations include the seizure of $11,247,266.37 located at international and domestic bank accounts. Drug forfeiture allegations involve the seizure of $1,355.000.00 in properties. The defendants have been charged with violations of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956 (a)(1)(B)(i)(ii) and 2, 1956(h), 853, 982, and Title 21, Sections 853, 881, 952 and 963.
Law enforcement agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) and the Puerto Rico Special Investigations Buraeu (NIE) conducted a joint Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation into the drug smuggling and money laundering activities of this organization. As part of the conspiracy defendants work in coordination with Gabriel Martínez, Farid Chain, and Edgar De Castro, Colombian-based owners of large sums of cash proceeds collected from the sale and distribution of narcotics. The defendants delivered large sums of cash proceeds in United States currency, so that they could be later transferred to the Colombian-based owners in payment for the narcotics imported.
The defendants provided multiple bank accounts throughout the United States, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, Panama, Curacao, Uruguay, Brazil, and Switzerland along with the corresponding instructions for the electronic transfer of the narcotics proceeds to the Colombian owners. It was also part of the conspiracy to organize, operate, and invest in allegedly legitimate business to conceal the origin, nature, and source of the money.
Penalties for the narcotics offense alleged in the indictment range from ten (10) years to life imprisonment and fines up to four million dollars ($4,000,000.00). Penalties for the money laundering offense alleged in the indictment range from a fine of not more than five-hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00), or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years, or both.
The following defendants were indicted by the Grand Jury in this case:
Gabriel J. Martínez-Miranda, Colombian and leader
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.
This case was investigated by the DEA Caribbean Division Money Laundering Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, under the OCDETF program. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ernesto Lopez.