20 Members of a Violent Gang Charged with Drug Trafficking and Firearms Violations in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On March 31, 2022, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging 20 violent gang members from the municipality of Cabo Rojo with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, as well as firearms violations, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB), Mayagüez Strike Force, led the investigation, with assistance from the United States Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Also assisting in today’s arrets were: the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and United States Border Patrol.
“These arrests spotlight the hard work and dedicated partnership between the men and women of our federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We share the mission of taking violent criminals off the streets and enhancing community-wide efforts to make Puerto Rico a safer place for all.”
“Today’s operation is an example of the dedication and hard work of the men and women of the FBI. Our commitment to Puerto Rico is to all 100x35 miles and it’s municipal islands as well,” said Joseph González, FBI Special Agent in Charge. “Organized crime will not be tolerated, and we will continue to dismantle groups like this to give back the communities they’ve taken from the people.”
The indictment alleges that from 2015, continuing up to and including 2019, the drug trafficking organization distributed cocaine base (commonly known as “crack”), cocaine, marihuana, and Oxycodone (Percocet), within 1,000 feet of the Santa Rita de Casia Public Housing Project, and other areas nearby the municipality of Cabo Rojo. The object of the conspiracy was the large-scale distribution of controlled substances in Cabo Rojo for significant financial gain and profit.
The 20 defendants acted in different roles to further the goals of their organization, including as leaders, enforcers, runners, sellers, and facilitators. Nine of the defendants are facing one charge of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
As part of the conspiracy, members of the drug trafficking organization named themselves “Los Lobos” (the wolves) and would display hand signs to identify themselves as such. Some of them have tattoo wolf designs on their bodies such as the paw print of a wolf, to identify themselves as members of the organization. The defendants and their co-conspirators established a drug distribution point that would move within different areas inside the public housing project to avoid police detection. Members of the conspiracy, upon request, delivered drugs to different locations within the municipality of Cabo Rojo.
The members of the gang used force, violence, and intimidation against rival drug traffickers, as well as members of their own drug trafficking organization, to intimidate and maintain control of the drug trafficking operation. Another means of intimidation used by the co-conspirators was setting vehicles on fire.
The defendants charged are:
Juan Gabriel Rivera-Surita, a.k.a. “Gaby”
Nelson Enrique Aragonés-Nazario
Rafael Irizarry-Santiago, a.k.a. “Rafy”
Antonio Ferrer-Pabón, a.k.a. “Pingui”
Santos Delgado-Colón, a.k.a. “Santitos/El Cojo”
Eric Joel Ortiz-Ribot, a.k.a. “Joito”
Bryan Lee Rodríguez-Mercado, a.k.a. “Brallitan”
Alexander Olivo-Franqui, a.k.a. “El Menor”
Jean Paul Lamboy-Palermo, a.k.a. “Jampi”
José Enrique Rivera-Negrón, a.k.a. “Joito”
Kyfran Janiell Casiano-Jorge
Jayson Ramos-Jorge, a.k.a. “Bibi”
Jennifer Villanueva-Pérez, a.k.a. “La Flaca”
Oscar Andrés Vélez-Matos
Rafael Manuel Irizarry-Vélez, a.k.a. “Pucho”
Brenda L. Rodríguez-Rosado
Roberto L. Lamberty, a.k.a. “Sierra Linda”
Kifran Adrián Casiano-Alayon
Alex Aragonés, a.k.a. “Nono”
Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief of the Gang Section Alberto López-Rocafort, Deputy Chief of the Gang Section, AUSA Tereza Zapata-Valladares, AUSAs Pedro Casablanca, and Joseph L. Russell are in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted on the drug charges, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, and up to life in prison. If convicted of both the drug and firearms charges, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, and up to life in prison.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.