25 Individuals Indicted For Drug Trafficking At Villa Envangelina Public Housing Project
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Yesterday, February 18, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against 25 defendants charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances in the municipality of Manatí, PR, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the investigation, with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Department, specially the Arecibo Strike Force, and the US Postal Inspection Service.
The 25 defendants are: Héctor Omar Figueroa-Quiñonez, aka “Omaki”; Juan Serpa- Candelaria, aka “Pablo”; Ángel M. Ortiz-De Jesús, aka “El Gallo”; Miguel Torres-Cruz, aka “Black Tattoo”; Jonathan J. Ortiz-Salgado, aka “Cochi”; Luis E. Rivera-Pares, aka “Bebo”; Francisco J. Martínez-Moreno, aka “Mickey Bay”; Christian Mercado-Figueroa, aka “Gordo”; José M. Pizzaro-Mezquita; Clem J. Martínez-Natal, aka “Clen”; Mirna Liz Torres-Pérez, aka “Lizzi”; Elvin Omar Millàn-Huertas; José M. Rodríguez-Lugo, aka “Bizcocho”; Adonis Rivera Carrero, aka “Lobo”; David Ortero-Lugo, aka “Davo”; Jorge A. Torres-Figueroa, aka “Jorgie”; Victor Manuel Ortiz-Salgado, aka “El Viejo”; Billy Rosario-Maldonado, aka “Billi”; Ángel Xavier Gonzàlez-Nieves, aka “Xavi”; Melvin Leonardo Sepa-Sepulveda, aka “Hueso”; Hiram Díaz-Meléndez; Kelvin Candelaria-Ortiz, aka “Kelvin Gordo”; John Félix Gonzàlez-Pérez, aka “Palleta”; Juan Carlos Matos-Santos, aka “Cani”; and Félix Aldea Ferrer, aka “Chino Milla”.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2010, the organization distributed cocaine, heroin, crack, marihuana, Oxycodone (commonly known as “Percocet”), and Alprazolam (commonly known as “Xanax”) within 1,000 feet of a real property comprising housing facility owned by a public housing authority, at the Villa Evangelina Public Housing Project, all for financial gain and profit.
The 25 co-conspirators had many roles in order to further the goals of the conspiracy. According to the indictment this organization had up to six leaders/drug point owners/enforcers, one narcotics supplier, at least four runners, a facilitator and firearms supplier, eleven sellers, an armed look-out and one facilitator. Six of the individuals are facing one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The defendants would use force, violence, threats and intimidation in order to discipline members of their own organization.
“I commend our law enforcement partners for their hard work and efforts in this investigation,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We will continue to pursue the prosecution of members of drug trafficking organizations, in order to provide a safer environment for the law abiding families residing in Puerto Rico’s public housing projects.”
“The FBI’s message is clear and unequivocal. We will work together with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to assign all necessary resources to identify, locate, and arrest violent crimes offenders. They will face our justice system. They will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Carlos Cases, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Puerto Rico.
Eliezer Julian, Domicile Coordinator, US Postal Inspection Service stated: “The US Postal Inspection Services seeks to identify, disrupt, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that attempt to utilize the US Mails. We have strengthened our relationship with our federal and state law enforcement partners. This inter-agency cooperation has had an impact on DTO's operating in Puerto Rico.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Veronda is in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years 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.
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