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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 18, 2019

14 Individuals Charged With Firearms Violations And Drug Trafficking In Manatí, Puerto Rico, In Project Safe Neighborhoods Enforcement Effort

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On July 17, 2019, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against 14 defendants charged with firearms violations and drug trafficking, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations is in charge of the investigation, with the collaboration of and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), Arecibo Strike Force, and the Puerto Rico Bureau of Special Investigations. This case is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative.

The indictment alleges that between on or about May and November 2018, the organization distributed cocaine, crack, heroin, and marihuana, all within the real property comprising the Villa Evangelina Public Housing Project located in the Municipality of Manatí, Puerto Rico. The 14 defendants are facing one count of conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, aiding and abetting.

The defendants are: Luis Ortega-Lugo, a.k.a. “Chembo”; Jeyro Ayala-Crespo, a.k.a. “Jero”; José Tobar-Otero, a.k.a. “Joe El Visco”; Josué Arroyo-Ayala, a.k.a. “Deiby Arroyo/George”; Jessie Rodríguez-Lugo, a.k.a. “Chiky”; Xavier Rivera-Santiago, a.k.a. “Payco”; José Antonio Flores-Torres, a.k.a. “Chory”; Adalberto Quiles-Negrón, a.k.a. “El Berto”; Luis Esteban Alonso-Rivera, a.k.a. “El Mellao”; Juan Laureano-Miranda, a.k.a. “Juanchy”; Kelvin Rivera-Morales; Jan Paul Quiñonez-Mujica, a.k.a. “Menor”; Xavier Robles, a.k.a. “Vampi”; and Jeremi Torres-Rosario.

The following defendants are each facing one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person (felon): Luis Ortega-Lugo, José Tobar-Otero, Josué Arroyo-Ayala, Jessie Rodríguez-Lugo, Xavier Rivera-Santiago, José Antonio Flores-Torres, Adalberto Quiles-Negrón, and Luis Esteban Alonso-Rivera. These individuals, knowing they had been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, in several dates, knowingly possessed firearms of various makes and models; said firearms having been shipped and transported in interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§  922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2).

Assistant U.S. Attorneys David T. Henek and Richard T. Passanisi are in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted, the defendants face a minimum sentence of 5 years, and up to life in prison. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a federal program designed to bring together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The PSN program was reinvigorated in 2017, as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting each community’s most violent criminals. All U.S. Attorney’s Offices work in partnership with federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as the local civilian community, to develop effective, targeted strategies to reduce violent crime. This case is a product of that collaborative effort.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated July 18, 2019