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Press Release

Convicted Drug Trafficking Murderer Sentenced to 50 Years

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Killed Maryland Woman in an Ambush Shooting

            WASHINGTON – Jann Jousten Aponte-Rivera, 27, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was sentenced today to 50 years in prison for the drug-related murder of Shantay Myisha Butler, 42, of Frederick, MD, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Scott of the Criminal and Cyber Division, and Acting Inspector in Charge Ajay Lall, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Chief Judge James E. Boasberg.

            Aponte-Rivera was convicted after a jury trial on November 8, 2023 of all three counts charged, including: conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; continuing criminal enterprise – causing the intentional death of Shantay Butler; and causing the death of Shantay Butler through the use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking offense. Aponte-Rivera was part of a large-scale drug trafficking organization based in San Juan that was sending kilogram quantities of cocaine to the mainland United States, including the Washington D.C. region, via the U.S. Postal Service. Law enforcement identified more than 50 parcels of cocaine shipped by the organization from Puerto Rico to the area with a wholesale street value of at least $2 million. Once the drugs arrived in the metropolitan area, a local drug trafficking organization distributed the cocaine to mainland dealers.

            The drug trafficking organization’s members, including Aponte-Rivera, traveled from San Juan to the Washington, D.C. area to collect drug proceeds, and then surreptitiously traveled on commercial airliners with the proceeds. Aponte-Rivera was indicted with co-defendants Rey Rivera Ruiz, Nomar Medina Diaz, and Michael Gabriel Rivera Hernandez.

            According to the facts introduced at trial, the leader of the Washington, D.C.-area drug trafficking organization owed several thousand dollars to the Puerto Rico drug trafficking organization and had been ordered to pay for several kilograms of cocaine which did not arrive in the Washington, D.C.-area. On October 14, 2020, Aponte-Rivera lured the leader of the Washington, D.C. area drug trafficking organization and Shantay Butler to a desolate part of Toa Baja in Puerto Rico. When the leader of the Washington, D.C.-area drug trafficking organization arrived with Ms. Butler in a car, Aponte-Rivera ambushed them, but pulling out a firearm and firing on the vehicle. The leader of the Washington, D.C.-area drug trafficking organization was shot five times, remained in a coma for several weeks, but survived. His girlfriend, Ms. Butler, died of her wounds.

            The FBI arrested Aponte-Rivera on April 15, 2021, in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

            Rivera Ruiz pleaded guilty on May 26, 2022, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and is set to be sentenced before Chief Judge Boasberg on February 22, 2024. In total, 10 individuals have been convicted for their roles in this drug trafficking conspiracy.

            This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Montgomery Co. Police Department (MCPD), and the Frederick City Police Department (FCPD).

            The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Scarpelli and David T. Henek, of the Violence Reduction and Trafficking Offenses Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Fletcher and Dineen Baker assisted in the investigation and charging of this case.

Updated February 21, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-154