News

7 Individuals Indicted For Violations Of The Racketeer Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act)

6 other individuals charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2013

SAN JUAN, PR – Today, a federal grand jury charged seven (7) individuals for RICO Act conspiracy as a result of an investigation by US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), and the Puerto Rico Department of Justice, announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.  The defendants are charged in a ten-count second superseding indictment with: violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, committing Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Activity, use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, drive-by shooting, and possession of a machine gun.

On August 15, 2012, the defendants were originally charged on a six (6) count indictment with, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, use of firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence, and possession of machine guns, and other related offenses. 

As part of the manner and means of the conspiracy to commit violations to the RICO Act, the defendants and co-conspirators purchased kilogram quantities of marihuana in the Continental United States and then shipped the marihuana to Puerto Rico using the U.S. Mail, to be distributed by members of the criminal organization.  It is further alleged that the defendants and co-conspirators used the profits from the marihuana sales to purchase weapons, ammunition and other materials in order to commit violent acts against rival drug trafficking organizations.

The second superseding indictment includes allegations of five (5) murders and two (2) attempted murders, all committed by members of this organization.  These acts are as follows:

  • On or about February 16, 2010, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, defendants [1] José Babilonia-Torres, aka “Bochi;” [4] Victor Real-Alomar, aka “Tostón;” and [5] José González-Bernard, aka “el Mudo,” aka “Tio,” shot and killed Frankie Rodríguez-Ornedo, aka “Periquito.”
  • On or about August 18, 2010, in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, defendant [5] González-Bernard shot and killed Luis Rodríguez-Rodríguez, aka “Gaby.”
  • In or about 2010, in Puerto Rico, defendants [1] Babilonia-Torres and [5] González-Bernard shot and attempted to kill José Cintron-Otero, aka “Checko.”
  • On or about March 18, 2011, in Dorado, Puerto Rico, defendants [2] Irving Melecio-Ramírez, aka “Gordo;” [3] Xavier Melecio Ramírez, aka “Xavo;” [4] Victor Real-Alomar, aka “Tostón;” [5] González-Bernard; [6] Félix A. Hernández-Burgos, aka “Bonito Pelo” or “Anthony” and [7] Alexis Hernández-Burgos, aka “Chucho” or “Chicho,” shot and killed Rolando Torres-Crespo, aka “Nandy” and Dimaries Broco-Irizarry.  Dimaries Broco-Irizarry was an attorney and was an innocent victim of the drive-by shooting committed by the defendants on the highway near Dorado, Puerto Rico. 
  • On or about June 7, 2011, in Puerto Rico, defendant [5] González-Bernard, aiding and abetting others, killed José Espinal-Lorenzo, aka “Chelo.”
  • On or about June 28, 2011, in Manatí, Puerto Rico, defendant [1] Babilonia-Torres, shot and attempted to kill Jonathan Ortiz-Salgado, aka “Cochinola.”

Six of the defendants involved in the murders and attempted murders are eligible for the death penalty.  The remainder of the defendants who are part of the conspiracy and participated in its criminal acts include: Pablo Echevarría-Rodríguez; José Acevedo-Vélez, aka “Chapo;” Brian Osoria-Padilla; Orlando Félix-Negrón, aka “Orly,” Nelson Alonso-Galarza; and Pedro Javier Hernández-Sosa.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin Martin from the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.

The defendants who are not eligible for the death penalty are facing up to 40 years or life in prison.  Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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