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Press Release

30 Members of a Violent Gang Charged with Drug Trafficking and Firearms Violations in San Juan, Trujillo Alto, Aibonito, and Loíza, Puerto Rico

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

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On May 8, 2024, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging 30 violent gang members from the municipalities of San Juan, Trujillo Alto, Aibonito, and Loíza with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, possession and distribution of controlled substances, and firearms violations, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. This investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB), San Juan Strike Force, with the collaboration of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“By arresting and prosecuting these defendants, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners are working to uphold the rule of law and bring to justice violent offenders who terrorize our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “The Department of Justice is committed to dismantling violent criminal organizations, holding gang members accountable, and pursuing justice for victims.”

“In the face of adversity, our resolve strengthens”, stated DEA Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge Denise Foster. “Together, with unwavering determination and steadfast collaboration, we will dismantle these drug trafficking organizations that threaten our communities and tarnish the fabric of our society. Our commitment to justice knows no bounds, and we will relentlessly pursue those responsible for perpetuating violence and addiction. We stand united, resolute in our mission to safeguard the safety and well-being of all.”

The indictment alleges that from in or about 2012 through the date of the indictment, the drug trafficking organization identified as “Los Elite” distributed heroin, cocaine base (commonly known as “crack”), cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl, Tramadol, and Clonazepam within 1,000 feet of the Jardines de Sellés Public Housing Project (PHP), Nuestra Señora Covadonga PHP, Quintana PHP, Trébol Condominiums, Liborio Ortiz PHP, and areas near those locations, all for significant financial gain and profit.

The goal of Los Elite was to control of all the drug trafficking activities within the municipalities of San Juan, Trujillo Alto, Aibonito, and Loíza, and areas nearby using force, threats, violence, and intimidation. In preserving power and protecting territory, the members of Los Elite profited from the illegal distribution of narcotics, including transportation to and distribution of kilogram quantities of cocaine in the continental United States. Additionally, members of Los Elite would ship fentanyl and marijuana from the continental United States to Puerto Rico for distribution at their drug points in the Island.

The investigation revealed that during the conspiracy the defendants and their co‑conspirators participated in acts of violence and shootings to secure their drug trafficking operations. The defendants and their co-conspirators would sometimes use bullet proof vests to protect themselves when they participated in acts of violence, and modified firearms to convert them to automatic weapons (machineguns). Also, defendants and their co‑conspirators would mail pieces of firearms or entire firearms from the continental United States to other members of the drug trafficking organization in Puerto Rico.

The defendants acted in different roles to further the goals of the drug trafficking conspiracy, including as leaders, suppliers, drug point owners, enforcers, runners, sellers, lookouts, and facilitators. The defendants would communicate using cell phones, often via messaging apps and social media (including, but not limited to, WhatsApp and Instagram). The defendants promoted themselves, their narcotics, their firearms, their money, and their drug trafficking organization using social media. These social media communications included discussions about the sale of narcotics and about firearms.

The 30 defendants charged in the indictment are:

[1] Pedro A. Rosado-Garay, a.k.a. “Finito/Fino/Fi”
[2] Josué Benito Sánchez-González, a.k.a. “Bore”
[3] Juan Daniel Sierra-Jiménez, a.k.a. “Wiwi/Doble U”
[4] Sergio Luis Rivera-Álvarez, a.k.a. “Zurdo”
[5] Victor Alfonso Rosario-Clemente, a.k.a. “Calvo/Tato”
[6] Jose Domingo Irizarry-Serrano
[7] Héctor Manuel Miranda-Rivera, a.k.a. “Do/Tito”
[8] David Antonio Tejada-Rosado, a.k.a. “Mudito/Mudo”
[9] Edwin Gabriel Vázquez-Colón, a.k.a. “Cuco”
[10] Rey Ivan Freytes, a.k.a. “Pana Mío”
[11] Francisco Miguel Duluc-Méndez, a.k.a. “Franco/Frankini”
[12] Rufino Hernández-Pizarro, a.k.a. “Gallero”
[13] Eduardo Berríos-Sepúlveda, a.k.a. “Kiko/Chavo del 8”
[14] Orville Báez-Maldonado, a.k.a. “Perry”
[15] Joffren Odete Santos-Rivera
[16] Yan Omar López-Machuca, a.k.a. “Bebo/John Zeta”
[17] Luis Ángel Rivera-Díaz, a.k.a. “Bebillo”
[18] Xavier Omar Maldonado-Negroni, a.k.a. “Maña”
[19] Michael Rivera-Cariño, a.k.a. “Movie”
[20] Héctor Alberto Sarriera-Marín, a.k.a. “Albert/Culón/Kardashian”
[21] Melvin Martínez-Vélez, a.k.a. “Tío”
[22] Raúl O. Matos-De Jesús, a.k.a. “Pechu”
[23] Yomar Gabriel Rivera-Hernández, a.k.a. “Yomar Gabriel Hernández/El Ninja”
[24] Ernesto Caraballo-Brooks, a.k.a. “Mullo”
[25] José Omar Aguayo-Delgado
[26] Sem Monge-Parrilla, a.k.a. “Jordan/23”
[27] Luis Alexis Guerrero-López, a.k.a. “Trunky”
[28] Jesus Antonio Carrión-Narváez, a.k.a. “Tomate/Motora”
[29] Marcelino Delgado-Rodríguez, a.k.a. “Marcelo”
[30] Emilio Rodríguez-Guzmán, a.k.a. “Barba/A”

Twenty defendants are facing one charge of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and five of those defendants are facing one count of possession of a machinegun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) and Chief of the Gang Section Alberto López-Rocafort; Deputy Chief of the Gang Section, AUSA Teresa Zapata-Valladares; and AUSA Joseph Russell are prosecuting 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 trafficking and the firearms charges in Count Seven, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, and up to life in prison. The defendants charged with possession of machineguns in furtherance of drug trafficking in Count Eight face a mandatory sentence of thirty years in prison to be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the drug trafficking charges. All defendants are facing a narcotics forfeiture allegation of $67,191,390 that represent the proceeds generated from their illegal drug trafficking activities.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated May 15, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses