27 DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING OPERATION AT MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Miami Field Office, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, and James K. Loftus, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, announced federal narcotics charges against twenty-seven members of an international drug trafficking organization that operated primarily through Miami International Airport.
Charged in five separate indictments were Nelson Albarracin, 52, Angel Reyes, 41, Renzo Oberto, 31, Josue Rubio, 39, James Pena, 49, Yunier Perez Cruz, 37, Reginald Richard, 37, Alfredo Barreto, 49, Balbino Armando Ramos, 49, Jose Alfonso Medina, 34, Robert Marquez, 29, Michael Boveda, 29, Hasiel Gonzalez Rodriguez, 32, Lazaro Nunez, 43, Elio Sanchez, 37, Carlos Ramones, 32, Hugo Morales, 41, Luis Neda, 30, Jose Neda, 37, Francisco Gonzalez, 47, Rolando Rubio, 47, Carlos Antonio Jorges Mendez, 59, Alexander Suarez, 26, Francisco Jose Sotelo, 64, Milton Humberto Felix, 46, Jorge Luis Rodriguez, 38, and Alexander Valdes, 39. Eighteen defendants were arrested and appeared in Magistrate Court today. Nine of the defendants remain at large. Detention hearings are scheduled for next week.
This joint investigation began in the Spring of 2007 and focused on long-term narcotics traffickers importing drugs, including cocaine and heroin, through Miami International Airport for subsequent distribution in Miami. As a result of this proactive investigation, the defendants were charged with federal narcotics violations, including importation and possession and distribution of cocaine and heroin. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of ten years to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.
U. S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “The smuggling of any contraband through MIA threatens our domestic security. The smuggling of narcotics is no exception. This prosecution is one example of what we can accomplish when we work together to make our airports safer and more secure.”
“This case demonstrates that drug smuggling organizations will utilize any means available to smuggle narcotics into the United States,” said Anthony Mangione, Special Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations office in Miami. “ICE works closely with our federal and state partners to target the means and methods used by drug traffickers and to dismantle those organizations.”
“Access to a secure transportation network, such as an international airport, gives drug traffickers an open window to bring drugs into our communities,” said Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Division. “These windows were closed through the collaborative efforts of DEA and our law enforcement partners.”
Mr. Ferrer thanked the investigative efforts of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, DEA and the Miami-Dade Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Hoffman.
An Indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.