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Press Release

23 Individuals Charged With Drug Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On November 16, 2015, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against 23 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 Investigations and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), Fajardo and Humacao Strike Forces, are in charge of the investigation.

The indictment alleges that beginning in November 2009, and continuing up to January 2012 the organization distributed heroin, crack, cocaine, marihuana, Oxycodone (commonly known as Percocet) and Alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax), all within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising the Los Jardines de Oriente (also known as Los Condos) Public Housing Project, and within 1,000 feet of the Rufino Vigo Elementary School located in the Municipality of Humacao, Puerto Rico, all for financial gain and profit.

The 23 defendants acted in different roles in order to further the goals of their organization, to wit: leader/drug owners, enforcers, runners, sellers, and facilitators. Eleven defendants are facing one charge of conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime: Alex O. Santos-Luyando, aka “Alex El Gordo;” Edsel Pedraza-Santiago, aka “Edsela;” Carlos Montes-Acosta, aka “Pepito;” Joseph Flores-Hernández, aka “Peke;” William Sierra-Cruz, aka “W;” Vincent Otero-Alicea, aka “Vicentito;” Jorge O. Arroyo-Ríos, aka “Rambo;” José L. Robles-Hernández, aka “Chespi;” Rafael Santiago-Díaz, aka “Coyote;” José R. Flores-Hernández, aka “Joseph;” and Lorenzo Sanjurjo-Estrella, aka “Magayo”.

The other defendants are: Franchesca M. Peña-Guzmán, aka “Chezca;” Magaly Hernández-Cruz; Minerva Cruz-Figueroa, aka “Chula;” Madeline Sánchez-Pagán, aka “La Vizca;” Victor M. Mojica-Medina, aka “Cocotero;” Rubén Ramos-Cruz, aka “Ito;” Carlos Rivera-Rivera, aka “Gringo;” Damaris Montes-Acosta; Grey Z. Burgos-Sánchez, aka “Greyskull;” Luis Gómez-Arroyo, aka “Coco;” Melvin Hernández-Castro, aka “Boquilla;” and Carlos A. Morales-Senquiz.

The co-conspirators operated the drug points twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven days a week, at various locations that rotated and varied throughout the span of the conspiracy. The defendants stored weapons, drugs, and the drug trafficking proceeds in different locations within and outside the Los Jardines del Oriente Housing Project. The leaders of the organization divided among themselves and their subordinates the proceeds of the drug trafficking sales.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dina Ávila-Jiménez 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.

The defendants were the targets of a long-term Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDEFT) investigation. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

Updated November 20, 2015

Drug Trafficking