SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On March 10, 2023, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a 62-count indictment charging 14 individuals with money laundering and narcotics offenses.
According to court documents, beginning no later than March 2020, the defendants conspired and agreed with each other to conduct over $5 million in financial transactions involving proceeds from drug trafficking. They used the U.S. financial system to conceal proceeds from dealing with controlled substances and transferred those illicit proceeds from places within the United States including Puerto Rico, to places outside the United States, including the Republic of Colombia.
Counts 2 to 52 of the indictment detail 51 financial transactions ranging from $16,036.90 to $1,109,960 involving proceeds from drug trafficking. Counts 53 to 59 charge defendant Carlos Javier Ruiz-Patiño, a/k/a “Hustler Man/Jordan/El Chamo”, of international concealment money laundering. It is alleged that the defendant transferred or transported a total of $964,944.35 from Puerto Rico to Colombia and Canada. Counts 60 to 62 include Narcotics Importation Conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and Narcotics Conspiracy.
Defendant Carlos Javier Ruiz-Patiño is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Regional Priority Organizational Target (RPOT). The RPOT List includes leaders of significant drug trafficking and money laundering organizations that are primarily responsible for a region’s drug threat. Ruiz-Patiño was arrested on March 9, 2023. The defendants arrested today are: Roberto Brioso-Canario, David Luis Zapata-Félix, Walter Alexis Daynes-Torres, and Jesús Alberto Oriol-Cabán. Defendants Guillermo Andrés Beltrán-Osorio, Enmanuel Matos-Matos, Edgardo Delgado-Carmona, Rafael Cruz-Montalvo, Edgar Omar Báez-Vargas, and Franky Pagán-Mendoza were previously arrested. Authorities are actively working on the arrest of three other defendants who are charged in the conspiracy.
The indictment includes a forfeiture notice regarding the following property:
- One Cessna Model 310Q Aircraft, PT-JST, its flight and maintenance logs and manuals, together with associated tools and spare parts seized on November 11, 2022
- $139,940 in U.S. currency seized on June 5, 2020
- $179,900 in U.S. currency seized on September 10, 2020
- $1,000,130 in U.S. currency seized on September 30, 2020
- $1,009,960 in U.S. currency seized on March 7, 2022
- $102,461 in U.S. currency seized on October 19,2022
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal organizations that distribute contraband, launder illicit proceeds, and attempt to corrupt our society,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “I would like to recognize the extraordinary efforts of our federal law enforcement partners for taking down a criminal organization that laundered drug proceeds for drug cartels. Drug traffickers and money launderers operate globally, but this investigation demonstrates that they will be brought to justice wherever they are found.”
“It’s my privilege to recognize the efforts performed by agents from the DEA and our partner agencies in our crusade to rid the public of these dangerous individuals that do nothing but harm our society,” said Denise Foster, Special Agent in Charge of DEA, Caribbean Division. “From Drug Traffickers to money launderers, the DEA will bring all it has to bear to make our communities safer and healthier, and to reverse the devastating trends of drug-related violence and overdoses plaguing our Communities.”
If convicted of the charged money laundering offenses, the defendants face a maximum term of 20 years in prison. If convicted of the charged narcotics offenses, the defendants face a mandatory minimum term of 10 years and up to life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is in charge of the investigation of the case with the collaboration of FBI, HSI, IRS, and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Olinghouse of the Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution of this OCDETF matter. The announcement was made by United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow and DEA Special Agent in Charge Denise Foster.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.