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Press Release

Eighteen Individuals Indicted For Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced today the unsealing of a federal indictment charging eighteen defendants with conspiring to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin.  If convicted, the defendants face a maximum term of life imprisonment, as well as a mandatory minimum term of ten years. 

The defendants charged in the indictment are:

Edgardo Q. RIVERA, age, 45

Edgar VELEZ, age 51

Carlos DAVID, age 47

Eddie RIVERA, age 34

Justo CAPELES, age 45

Jose E. DEANDA, age 34

Omayra RIVERA, age 40

Edgardo S. RIVERA, age 27

Jorge FONTANEZ-MASSO, age 28

Jose SANTOS-MARTI, age 23

Isaac ELENA-LEONARDO, age 25

Ramon ELIZONDO, age 44

Brenda FONTANEZ-MASSO, age 43

Carlos VELASQUEZ, age 44

Luis DIAZ, age 23

Emerito QUILES, age 64

Jason RIVERA, age 35

Jaime M. VEGA, age 19

Earlier today, federal, state, and local law enforcement agents and officers arrested seventeen of these defendants, who had been residing in Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Chicago.  The other defendant named in the indictment, Eddie Rivera, is still at large.

The agents and officers also executed a number of search warrants in the Milwaukee and Kenosha areas, resulting in the seizure of distribution quantities of heroin and cocaine; sixteen firearms; and approximately $150,000 in cash.

United States Attorney Haanstad, in announcing the federal charges, arrests, and search warrants, said, “There is a heroin epidemic in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas.  The dangers of heroin trafficking and abuse have been escalating and present an urgent public safety and public health crisis.  Investigations and prosecutions like this one are an integral component of the collaborative effort among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to deal with that public safety and public health crisis.”            

The investigating agencies included the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), and the Wisconsin High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.

DEA Milwaukee Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Bell praised this collaborative effort.  “Working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and joining resources with our state and local law enforcement partners make significant operational successes possible.  Together, we will continue to hold violent gangs accountable for the opioid and heroin-related deaths and addiction they cause in our communities.  At the same time, we will keep working closely with prevention and treatment specialists to raise the public’s understanding of the risks, reduce demand and provide paths to recovery.”

Captain Jeffery Micklitz of the Milwaukee Police Department stated, “The Milwaukee Police Department’s Narcotics Division, as part of the Wisconsin High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) is pleased to have worked with the DEA, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and other local law enforcement partners in this investigation, which is tied to overdose deaths.  We are optimistic that these arrests will have an impact on the heroin epidemic in and around the Milwaukee community and we urge those addicted to seek treatment.”

“These arrests are yet another example of our collective resolve to relentlessly pursue and dismantle drug trafficking organizations from top to bottom,” said James M. Gibbons, acting special agent in charge of HSI Chicago. “HSI and its law enforcement partners are committed to stopping the networks that funnel dangerous drugs onto our streets and spread violence into our communities.”

Agencies who assisted with the arrests and search warrants include the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshals Service, Wisconsin Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigations, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department, Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, West Allis Police Department, Wauwatosa Police Department, Greenfield Police Department, Kenosha Police Department, South Milwaukee Police Department. 

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mario Gonzales of the United States Attorney’s Office.

An indictment is merely the formal method of charging an individual and does not constitute inference of his or her guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until such time, if ever, that the government establishes his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Updated June 14, 2016