19 Individuals Indicted For Drug Trafficking
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On November 14, 2017, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against 19 defendants charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. Today DEA agents and officers of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) executed the arrest warrants as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Eleven defendants were arrested today in Puerto Rico, and one of them in the U.S. mainland.
The object of the conspiracy was to distribute controlled substances at the El Cemí and El Yukiyu Public Housing Project located within the Municipality of Luquillo, Puerto Rico, since 2008. This organization would conduct transactions and engage in actions to further its drug trafficking activities in different municipalities of Puerto Rico, including San Juan, Carolina, Naguabo, Arroyo, Caguas, Juncos, Las Piedras, Ceiba, and Canovanas. The members of the organization would transport drugs, weapons, and money to different towns, in cars equipped with hidden compartments designed for that purpose. During the deliveries, other co-conspirators would escort the cars while carrying firearms to protect the cargo.
The indictment also alleges that the members of the organization would transport cocaine from Puerto Rico to the continental United States, through the Luis Muñoz-Marin International Airport, using "mules" who would carry the drugs within the luggage.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cesar S. Rivera-Giraud is in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted the defendants face a minimum sentence of no less than 10 years and up to life for counts under 21 U.S.C. §§841(a)(1), 846 and 860, and 18 U.S.C. §2, and a minimum sentence of no less than 5 years up to life for counts under 18 U.S.C. §924(c). Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.