26 Individuals Charged With Drug Trafficking In Puerto Rico Project Safe Neighborhoods Enforcement Effort
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On May 20, 2019, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a seven-count indictment charging 26 defendants with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and with firearms violations, 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), Caguas Strike Force, are in charge of the investigation with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, Department of Public Safety. This case is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative.
The indictment alleges that beginning in or about the year 2013, the organization distributed crack, heroin, cocaine, marihuana, Oxycodone (commonly known as Percocet) and Alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax), all within 1,000 feet of the real properties comprising the Lorenzana Public Housing Project and Roosevelt Ward located in the Municipality of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, all for financial gain and profit.
The 26 defendants acted in different roles in order to further the goals of their organization, to wit: leaders, drug point owners, runners, enforcers, sellers, facilitators, and lookouts. Twelve defendants are facing one charge of using and carrying firearms during and in relation to drug trafficking.
As part of the conspiracy members of the drug trafficking organization used force, violence and intimidation in order to maintain control of the drug trafficking operations, armed conspirators provided security to the drug point, and lookouts conducted surveillance at strategic locations within the public housing project to attempt to detect the presence of law enforcement personnel and/or members of rival gangs.
The defendants indicted and arrested today are: Juan Rafael Pedro-Vidal, a.k.a. “Bebe/Fito/Jincho”; Juan Luis Pedro-Vidal, a.k.a. “Pucho/Gordo/Barba”; Kelvyn Iván Borges-Vázquez, a.k.a. “Keke”; Christian De Jesús-Figueroa, a.k.a. “Puto”; Alexander Sánchez-Sánchez, a.k.a. “Alex Fo/Gárgola”; José René Ríos-Fuentes; Henry Calderón-Marín, a.k.a. “Jincho/Jinchito”; Alexander Cruz-Guzmán, a.k.a. “Pito”; Nelson Torres-Delgado, a.k.a. “El Burro”; Luis Manuel Montñez-Ramos, a.k.a. “Wiso/Gordo”; Victor Manuel Moyett-Barbosa, a.k.a. “Victorino”; Radames Torres-Díaz; Miguel Ángel Rojas-Tamayo, a.k.a. “Mikey”; José Montañez-Ramos, a.k.a. “Chelo”; Samuel Enrique Rolón-Malavé, a.k.a. “Sammy”; José Martín Cruz-Guzmán, a.k.a. “Fresita”; Juan Carlos Pérez-Colón, a.k.a. “Budda”; Ángel Omar García-Córdova, a.k.a. “Kakito”; Rafael Enrique Marcano-Rodríguez; José Edgardo Cruz-Piñeiro, a.k.a. “Coco”; José Manuel Claudio-Figueroa, a.k.a. “Scorpion/Viejo”; Raúl Soto-Ramos, a.k.a. “Bobo”; William Rolón-Gómez, a.k.a. “Mascabi”; Emmanuel Neris-Rivera, a.k.a. “Chavito”; Ivelis Méndez-Gómez, a.k.a. “Ivy”; and Jostheline Figueroa, a.k.a. “Ñeca”.
“This indictment and the arrests this morning are a significant victory in our efforts to combat drug trafficking and violent crime,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We will continue to conduct investigations with our counterparts to dismantle these criminal organizations and to send a clear message that drugs, firearms, and violence will not be tolerated in our neighborhoods.”
“Today’s operation involved more than 400 law enforcement personnel, demonstrating that we and our partners will invest whatever resources are necessary when it comes to public safety. The operation succeeded thanks in large part to the efforts of the Puerto Rico Police Department, Strike Force Caguas, Puerto Rico Department of Corrections, San Juan Police Department, Hacienda, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Homeland Security Investigations; and as always, could not have gone forward without the tremendous work of the United States Attorney’s Office in preparing this case for prosecution,” stated Douglas A. Leff, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, San Juan Division.
Today’s arrests are part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jenifer Y. Hernández-Vega and Jonathan Gottfried are 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.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a federal program designed to bring together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The PSN program was reinvigorated in 2017, as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting each community’s most violent criminals. All U.S. Attorney’s Offices work in partnership with federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as the local civilian community, to develop effective, targeted strategies to reduce violent crime. This case is a product of that collaborative effort.
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