Two Individuals Indicted For Importation Of Approximately 1,500 Kilograms Of Cocaine
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On December 18, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against two defendants charged with conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and conspiracy to import and importation of controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico and Vito Salvatore Guarino, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Caribbean Division.
On December 5, 2013, in the early morning hours, PRPD officers from the Fuerza Unida de Ràpida Acción Unit (FURA) detected a suspicious vessel traveling inbound towards the South East area of Puerto Rico, specifically in the area of Patillas, PR, without navigation lights. The vessel was a 33 feet long “Eduardoño.” The vessel contained 54 bales of cocaine, with a gross weight of approximately 1,500 kilograms. Food products from Venezuela were also located inside the vessel, alongside various electronic communication devices including a satellite telephone, cellular telephones and GPS devices. The defendants and the evidence were turned over to the DEA which initiated a joint investigation with the FBI.
On December 6, 2013 a criminal complaint authorized by US Magistrate Judge Silvia Careño-Coll charged Cepeda-Guzmàn and Acevedo-Suero with violations to the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and ordered their temporary detention pending trial. Today the defendants appeared before US District Judge José A. Fusté for the bail hearing and were detained pending trial.
The investigation is being conducted jointly by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the collaboration of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), US Coast Guard and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elba Gorbea. If convicted, the defendants could face from 10 years up to life in prison.