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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 15, 2016

38 Individuals Indicted For Drug Trafficking In The Municipality Of Cayey

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On December 12, 2016, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against 38 defendants charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), Guayama Strike Force are in charge of the investigation.

According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine base (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 Jardines de Montellano and Luis Muñoz Morales Public Housing Projects; El Polvorín, San Cristobal and Cantera wards; and other areas within and near the Municipality of Cayey, PR, all for significant financial gain and profit.

The indictment alleges that beginning in 2012, the organization established drug distribution points among the housing projects.  Some of the defendants and their co-conspirators committed murders in order to maintain order and control of the drug trafficking operations. Some of the defendants, while in prison, maintained contact by phone with other members of the organization in the free community to control and coordinate drug trafficking activities. The co-conspirators sometimes referred to the drug trafficking organization as “The Punishers” and some of its members have tattoos of “The Punisher” logo to identify themselves as members of the organization.

The defendants and their co-conspirators routinely used social media to post pictures of co-conspirators, communicate amongst themselves and promote their drug trafficking activities. They took photos and videos of themselves, their associates, vehicles, drugs, firearms and other drug trafficking related items.

The defendants are: Edwin José Santos-Martínez, a.k.a. “Chinai/Chinito”; José A. Torres-Burgos, a.k.a “La Letra”; Curtis R. Laringa-Ortiz, a.k.a. “Gordo Gordo”; Arnaldo J. Vega-Marrero, a.k.a. “Naldito”; Heriberto J. Martínez-Rosa, a.k.a. “Yandel”; Gabriel E. Ortiz-Haddock, a.k.a. “Gavilán”; Javier Rivera-Nuñez, a.k.a. “Javi/Kevin/Adidas”; Carlos Omar Rivera-Pérez, a.k.a. “Carlitos Punisher”; Christopher L. Collazo-Cartagena, a.k.a. “Varguitas”; Efraín A. Planell-Pérez, a.k.a. “Gordo Billar”; Samuel Vélez-Rosa, a.k.a. “Samuelito”; Jean Carlos Vázquez, a.k.a. “Yankee”; Jonathan Vicente-Vázquez, a.k.a. “Jonan/El Negro”; Jorge E. Álvarez-Rivera, a.k.a. “Georgie”; Alexander Arroyo-González, a.k.a. “Alex Corcho/Alex Corchoneta”; Elvin Mejías-Cáceres, a.k.a. “Cuña”; Kendrick A. Morell-Torres, a.k.a. “Kenry”; Ramón E. Gómez-Montañez, a.k.a. “Imperio”; Reynaldo Alverio-Moyet, a.k.a. “Reyo/Reyito/Alverio”; Ezequiel Martínez-Llopiz, a.k.a. “Menor”; Eddie Rivera-Santana, a.k.a. “Finito/Tatuaje”; Entuan J. Rivera-Vega, a.k.a. “Bebo”; Edgardo Ramos-Meléndez, a.k.a. “Galdito”; Carlos Santiago-Morales, a.k.a. “Carlos Cantera”; Carlos E. Rosado-Hiraldo, a.k.a. “Kiko”; Ramón L. Rodríguez-Colón, a.k.a. “Topo”; Erick A. Bolorín-Vega, a.k.a. “Bolo”; Xavier De Jesús-Taboada, a.k.a. “Xavi Jordan”; Jonathan A. Alvarado-Vega, a.k.a. “Transfor”; Christopher X. Torres-Morales, a.k.a. “Buho”; Pedro De Jesús-Ortiz, a.k.a. “Pitín”; Raymond Rivera-Rivera, a.k.a. “Raymond Joe/Pupu”; Kelvin Omar Bermúdez-López; Gerardo Marcano-Rivera, a.k.a. “Bebe”; Sergio Rodríguez-Mendoza; Christian Ortiz-Meléndez, a.k.a. “Chata/Monaguillo”; Freddie Rivera-Rodríguez, a.k.a. “Domi”; and Armando Soto-Díaz.

The thirty-eight defendants acted in different roles in order to further the goals of their organization, to wit: leaders, managers, drug owners, enforcers, runners, sellers, facilitators, and lookouts. Thirty defendants are facing one charge of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Assistant U.S. Attorney César S. Rivera-Giraud is in charge of the prosecution of the case. Defendants convicted of drug trafficking face a minimum sentence of 10 years, and a maximum of life in prison.  Defendants convicted of drug trafficking and a firearms offense face a minimum of 15 years, and up to life in prison. An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated December 15, 2016