DEA Arrests Two; Seizes Drugs Aboard Cruise Ship
AUG 17--SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced the arrest of three individuals and the seizure of six kilograms of heroin and $24,775.00 in U.S. currency in a joint interdiction operation with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Pan American Dock in San Juan, PR. Two of the individuals arrested, Maureen Erika TINGEY and Juan GONZALEZ-Sanchez were the occupants of a cabin of the cruise liner Adventure of the Sea. A CBP K-9 search of TIGNEY and GONZALEZ’s cabin resulted in the seizure of two body suits which further concealed the heroin.
The DEA Seaport Task Force agents devised a plan to arrest the intended recipient of the six kilograms of heroin after TIGNEY and GONZALEZ agreed to cooperate with the DEA. An undercover meeting at the Hampton Inn Hotel in Isla Verde resulted in the arrest of Jose TORRES-Maldonado whom intended to receive the heroin from GONZALEZ and TIGNEY. The agents seized $24,775.00 from TORRES, which was the amount that would have been paid to the drug curriers for their services. TIGNEY, GONZALEZ and TORRES were charged with violations to the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The seized heroin is worth millions of dollars when sold at the retail level in Puerto Rico. Heroin distribution organizations in Puerto Rico sell heroin throughout the drug points around the island in the form of “decks” to the heroin addicts.
The DEA Caribbean Division Seaport Task Force is a joint task force of law enforcement agents from the DEA, the PR Police Department (PRPD), the PR Justice Department’s Special Investigations Bureau (NIE), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico.
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.