Justice News

Department of Justice
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Private Security Guard Convicted for Role in Providing Security for Drug Transaction

WASHINGTON – A former private security guard was convicted by a federal jury yesterday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for his role in providing security for a drug transaction, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rosa E. Rodriguez-Velez of the District of Puerto Rico and Special Agent in Charge Joseph S. Campbell of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.


Ricardo Amaro-Santiago, 39, was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, attempting to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug transaction. Amaro-Santiago was charged in an indictment unsealed on Oct. 6, 2010, along with 89 law enforcement officers in Puerto Rico and 44 other individuals, as part of the FBI undercover operation known as Guard Shack.


According to the indictment and information presented in court, in May 2010, Amaro-Santiago provided security for what he believed was an illegal drug deal, but which in fact was part of the undercover FBI operation. According to information presented at trial, Amaro-Santiago was employed as a private security guard, but posed as a Puerto Rico police officer during the transaction. Information presented at trial also revealed that Amaro-Santiago was brought into the scheme by a co-defendant who was a police officer of Puerto Rico.


In return for the security he provided, Amaro-Santiago received a cash payment of $1,000.


U.S. District Judge Gustavo A. Gelpi scheduled sentencing for April 2012. At sentencing, Diaz faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison.


The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Marquest J. Meeks and Tracee Plowell of the Public Integrity Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. The case was investigated by the FBI. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico also participated in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014