17 Individuals Charged with Drug Trafficking in the Municipalities of San Juan and Cataño
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On May 17, 2016, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against 17 defendants charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), San Juan Strike Force are in charge of the investigation.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2007, and continuing up to 2015 the organization distributed heroin, crack, cocaine, and marihuana, at Las Monjas Ward in San Juan, and Los Bultrones Alley, in Cataño, and other areas within and near the Municipalities of San Juan and Cataño, Puerto Rico, all for significant financial gain and profit.
The seventeen defendants acted in different roles in order to further the goals of their organization, to wit: leader, managers/drug owners, enforcers, runners, drug processors, facilitators, and sellers. Sixteen defendants are facing one charge of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The defendants are: Franklin A. Valdez-Marcelino, a.k.a. “Popeye”; Omar A. Mangual Lanause, a.k.a. “Omar”; Carlos E. Carrión-Nieves, a.k.a. “Negro”; Raymond Fuentes-Echevarría, a.k.a. “R”, “Raymond”, “Doble Cincuenta”; David Oliveras-Lugo, a.k.a. “Ardilla”; David Manuel Vélez-Torres, a.k.a. “Tripa”, “Tribi”; Orlando Martínez-Núñez, a.k.a. “Irving”, “Elvin”; Frajamilis Maldonado-Cruz, a.k.a. “Coquito”; Luis Manuel Resto-Reyes, a.k.a. “Guitarreño”, “Guitarra”; Emmanuel Mercedes-Morán, a.k.a. “Mono”; Jorge L. Martínez-Rodríguez, a.k.a. “Chito”; Edgardo Lamboy-Ruiz, a.k.a. “Galdo”, “Al-Qaeda”; Frankie Junior Cruz, a.k.a. “Papa”; Erick J. Ortiz-Colón, a.k.a. “Gringo”; Joel Rosa-Robles, a.k.a. “Bobmar”; Carlos A. Sánchez-Rivera, a.k.a. “Casper”; and Victor A. Martínez-Rodríguez, a.k.a. “Vitito”.
The defendants and their co-conspirators routinely possessed, carried, brandished and used firearms of different brands and calibers, including fully automatic weapons, to protect themselves, their drug trafficking organization, maintain control of their drug points, intimidate and retaliate against other drug trafficking organizations and to expand their drug trafficking activities. They used the cellular phones to take pictures of themselves in possession of firearms, and of the drugs that they distributed. They used social media to post pictures of co-conspirators in possession of firearms, to maintain contact with each other, to promote their drug trafficking activities, and to threaten other persons.
“Drug trafficking organizations must be aggressively attacked and dismantled at every level,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “The result of this operation is nothing short of significant and it underscores law enforcement’s main goal: to keep drugs out of our neighborhoods. These arrests will keep the law abiding citizens of San Juan and Cataño safer from the inevitable violence that drug trafficking brings.”
“Over the course of three decades, the Los Lobos Gang controlled various communities in Puerto Rico, trafficking narcotics and weapons on a massive scale, while the honest residents of those communities suffered,” said Douglas A. Leff, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, San Juan Division. “Today, the long term investigation of this criminal enterprise culminated with its dismantlement, by arrests in Puerto Rico and throughout the continental United States. The FBI thanks the United States Attorney, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Police of Puerto Rico, and the San Juan Municipal Police Department, for our continued partnership and mission, the goal of which remains the safety and security of Puerto Rico and its citizens.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cesar Rivera-Giraud is in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 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.