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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

26 Individuals Indicted For Smuggling Cocaine Through The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport

Defendants face a narcotics and money laundering forfeiture allegation of 4 million dollars

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On April 10, 2017, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against twenty-six defendants charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

 

The indictment alleges that beginning on a date unknown, and continuing up to and until the return of the indictment, the defendants smuggled multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine through the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (LMMIA) to the Continental United States. The smuggled cocaine was destined to major cities in the Eastern coast. The defendants charged in the indictment had several different roles.

 

The lead defendant [1] Humberto Concepción-Andrades was identified as the leader and supplier of a Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) that smuggled multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine through the LMMIA in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The facilitators were identified as: [2] Jose Colón-Guzmán, [3] Miguel García-Blasco (an employee for JetBlue Airlines at LMMIA and currently a Southwest Airlines employee at the Orlando International Airport), [4] Tito Diaz-Serrano (an employee for Antilles Services, an airport services company at LMMIA), [5] Tomás Domínguez-Rohena (an employee of American Airlines at LMMIA and Miami International Airport), [6] Alexander Gazmey-Santiago (an employee of the International Meal Company who worked at the Air Margaritaville restaurant in LMMIA); and [10] Danel González-González, who smuggled multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine through DHL and through employees of Perfect Cleaning Services Inc., a company that provides cleaning service at LMMIA.

 

Defendants in the indictment include employees of Air Margaritaville (a restaurant located beyond the TSA security check point at LMMIA): [7] Harold Oliveras-Landrau, [8] Rodney Pérez-Ortega, [11] Michael Danet-Delgado, [12] Jose Paris-Romero, [13] Jean Ocasio-Castro, [14] Orbi Villar-Enriquez, [15] Héctor Ortiz-Brignoni, [16] Edwin Rosario-Rosario and [17] Rafael Coriano-Sierra.

 

Additional defendants included current and former employees of American Airlines at LMMIA cargo department: [18] Luis Diaz-Colón, [19] Miguel Ruiz-Delgado, [20] Daniel Vélez-Sanjurjo, [21] Marcos González-Figueroa and [22] Brian Otero.

 

Defendant [24] Aimee Monegro-Polanco is the wife of defendant [1] Humberto Concepción-Andrades. Along with [1] Humberto Concepción-Andrades, [24] Aimee Monegro-Polanco funneled narcotic proceeds through bank accounts of corporations they created to conceal the nature, source, location, ownership, or control of the narcotic proceeds.

 

Defendants were used as mules to carry the narcotics through LMMIA to its final destination in the Continental United States: [9] Ángel Almodovar-García, [25] Carl Frank Zubillaga and [26] David Figueroa-Colón.

 

[9] Ángel Almodovar-García also smuggled multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine through LMMIA with the help of UPS driver [23] Felix Rosado-Colón.

 

The indictment sets forth various methods used by the co-conspirators to smuggle the drugs:

 

Bathroom Smuggling Method at LMMIA

 

Defendant [1] Concepción-Andrades, leader drug supplier, provided multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to a facilitator who supplied the cocaine to defendant [3] García-Blasco. [3] García-Blasco. [3] García-Blasco would then smuggle the kilograms of cocaine past security at LMMIA into the secured area of LMMIA. Defendants [9] Almodovar-García, [25] Zubillaga and [26] Figueroa-Colón worked as mules for the DTO. The mules would arrive at LMMIA, pass through a TSA security checkpoint and contacted [3] García-Blasco or another facilitator. The facilitators indicated the specific bathroom where the mule would meet [3] García-Blasco and receive the kilograms of cocaine. Once the mules had obtained the kilograms they placed them into their carry-on luggage and boarded flights to the Continental United States.

 

American Airlines Smuggling Method

 

Defendant [1] Concepción-Andrades, leader drug supplier, provided multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to a facilitator who supplied the cocaine to defendant [3] García-Blasco. [3] García-Blasco, then provided the cocaine to another facilitator, [4] Díaz-Serrano. [4] Díaz-Serrano then contacted American Airlines employees, who were previously indicted in 2015, who worked for the drug trafficking organization (DTO).

 

The mules would enter the airport and hand their checked luggage containing multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to member(s) of the DTO who were working at the American Airlines counter. The American Airlines DTO member(s) would place a sticker onto the checked luggage indicating that it had been cleared by TSA, when in fact the luggage had not been cleared by TSA. The American Airlines employees would then place the checked luggage with other luggage, which had been previously cleared by TSA, and would load them onto commercial airlines headed to the Continental United States.

 

Air Margaritaville Restaurant Smuggling Method

 

Defendant [1] Concepción-Andrades, leader drug supplier, provided multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to a facilitator who supplied the cocaine to defendant [6] Gazmey-Santiago, who would contact members of the DTO employed at the Air Margaritaville restaurant inside LMMIA.

 

Defendant [12] Paris-Romero, among others, received the cocaine and would place it into the Black Coffee garbage chute at LMMIA, thereby moving the cocaine past the security checkpoint and into the secure area of the airport. Once the cocaine was removed from the trash chute, defendants [8] Pérez-Ortega and [13] Ocasio-Castro would remove the cocaine and store it inside lockers in the Air Margaritaville employee locker room.

 

Defendants [15] Ortiz-Brignoni, [17] Coriano-Sierra, and other members of the DTO, would move the cocaine from the lockers into the dishwashing area of the Air Margaritaville restaurant. Defendants [16] Rosario-Rosario, [12] Paris-Romero were waiters at the restaurant. They delivered the cocaine inside five pound bags of Gustos Coffee Company coffee bags to defendants [9] Almodovar-García, [25] Zubillaga and [26] Figueroa-Colón. After receiving the coffee bags with the cocaine, the mules boarded flights to the Continental United States. Each Gustos Coffee Company coffee bag contained approximately three to four kilograms of cocaine.

 

Perfect Cleaning Services Inc. Smuggling Method

 

Defendant [1] Concepción-Andrades supplied multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to a DTO facilitator who provided the cocaine to defendant [10] González-González. Gonzalez-Gonzalez ultimately supplied the cocaine to an employee(s) of Perfect Cleaning Services Inc., one of these employees was previously indicted in 2015. The mule(s) would arrive at LMMIA, go through a TSA security checkpoint and contact an employee of Perfect Cleaning Services Inc. The Perfect Cleaning Services Inc. employee would then meet the mule inside a bathroom at LMMIA. The Perfect Cleaning Services Inc. employee would then slide a backpack or piece of luggage containing multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to the mule under the center divider of the stalls. The mule would then board a flight to the Continental United States.

 

American Airlines Cargo Smuggling Method

 

According to the Indictment, defendant [4] Diaz-Serrano facilitated a smuggling venture utilizing American Airlines cargo employees. The employees who participated in this smuggling method were: [18] Díaz-Colón, [19] Ruiz-Delgado, [20] Vélez-Sanjurjo, [21] González-Figueroa, and [22] Brian Otero. As American Airlines employees, they could ship goods free of charge on American Airlines flights. They would obtain multi-kilogram shipments of cocaine in boxed goods, and use American Airlines employee IDs at the American Airlines cargo counter at the airport. The employee would then fill out the proper cargo paperwork and take the shipment through security inspection. DTO members would then clear the shipment and place it on a flight to the Continental United States.

 

DHL Smuggling Method

 

Defendant [1] Concepción-Andrades supplied multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to a DTO facilitator who provided the cocaine to defendant [10] González-González, who smuggled the multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine onto cargo planes headed to the Continental United States.

 

“These individuals developed numerous smuggling lines to transport cocaine through the LMMIA in Puerto Rico to the Continental United States. Today we have brought their operations to a grinding halt,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “The members of our AirTAT initiative will continue to work together to ensure that our airports are not used to smuggle contraband into the United States mainland.”

 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) is in charge of the investigation with the collaboration of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the U.S. Marshals and the Police of Puerto Rico.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart J. Zander is in charge of the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Díaz-Rex, Deputy Chief of the International Narcotics Unit. 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.

 

This case is part of the ongoing efforts of the Airport Investigations and Tactical Team (AirTAT). Originating in January 2015, AirTAT is a multi-agency initiative created to identify, locate, disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute Domestic and Transnational Criminal Organizations (DTCOs) and its operatives using the LMMIA, the Fernando Luis Rivas Dominicci Airport (the Isla Grande airport), and peripheral airports as platforms to smuggle narcotics, weapons, human cargo, counterfeit documents and illicit proceeds. These airports play a strategic role for DTCOs to conduct contraband smuggling activities inbound and outbound to the continental United States as well as international destinations.

 

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated April 11, 2017