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Press Release

38 Members of a Violent Gang in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Charged with Drug Trafficking and Firearms Offenses, with Five Members Charged with the Firearms Murder of an Innocent Woman

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

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On July 17, 2023, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging 38 violent gang members from the municipality of Caguas 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. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB) Caguas Strike Force, and the United States Marshals Service conducted the investigation with collaboration and support from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), PRPB Special Arrests Unit, and Guaynabo Municipal Special Response Team (SRRT).

“With today’s arrests we move closer to bringing justice to the family of victim MRM, a woman senselessly murdered as she was caught in the crossfire during a gang shootout in May 2022, as well as others in the community harmed by drug trafficking and other related acts of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “Federal and state authorities will continue to hold violent gang members accountable for their crimes. Although the leader of this violent gang remains a fugitive from justice, we will pursue and find him and his criminal associates, no matter where they hide or how long it takes.”

“The gang members arrested today held the Caguas region hostage through violence and intimidation. Our message today is, Puerto Rico belongs to the people and the FBI will continue to disrupt and dismantle these criminal organizations to make sure this continues to be the case,” said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Juan Field Office, Joseph González.  “In the FBI, we know the great courage it takes to speak up against violent gangs and do not take public cooperation lightly. Combating gang related violence is a mission that requires a whole-of-society approach, which is why we will continue to encourage anyone with information on whereabouts of fugitives associated with this organization to call 787-987-6500 or visit”

The indictment alleges that from 2017 through the present, the drug trafficking organization distributed heroin, cocaine base (commonly known as “crack”), cocaine, marihuana, Fentanyl, Oxycodone (Percocet), and Alprazolam (Xanax) within 1,000 feet of the Brisas del Turabo, the Raúl Castellón, the Turabo Heights, and the Juan Jiménez García Public Housing Projects; and at the Barriada Morales, Barriada La Pajilla, and Bunker Wards in Caguas, and other areas throughout Puerto Rico, all for significant financial gain and profit.

Defendant [1] Nelson Torres-Delgado, the leader of the violent drug trafficking organization charged in this Indictment, has held power over drug trafficking in the Caguas area since the early 2010s. He has been a federal fugitive since 2017 and has maintained control over the organization as a fugitive through deadly violence and intimidation, and by engaging in violent turf wars against rival drug trafficking organizations. His methods of avoiding capture while controlling his gang include limiting face-to-face contact to only the highest and most trusted leaders in his organization.

Throughout the course of the conspiracy, members of this organization have been murdered or have gone to prison, but the organization’s rules and leadership have persisted as a constant means of accomplishing its criminal goals. To that end, the rules allowed for recruitment of new lookouts and sellers, and afforded upward mobility for some within the organization. However, Torres-Delgado and the other leaders maintained the power to authorize acts of violence, including murders. As a rule, no member of the organization could kill someone without the permission of Torres-Delgado. At times, gang leadership would delegate the authority to authorize lesser violent punishments.

As part of the conspiracy, the defendants used abandoned apartments in the public housing projects to prepare the drugs for distribution at the drug points and procured access to many vehicles to transport money, narcotics, and firearms. For that purpose, the co‑conspirators would steal cars or buy stolen cars from others to use in furtherance of the drug trafficking activities.

The defendants acted in different roles to further the goals of the drug trafficking conspiracy, to include: leaders, enforcers, runners, sellers, facilitators, and lookouts. The members of the gang used force, violence, and intimidation to maintain control of the areas in which they operated. The defendants charged in the drug trafficking conspiracy are:

[1] Nelson Torres-Delgado, a.k.a. “El Burro/Burro/Father/Nelsito/Cuatro Patas/El Animal/El Animal de Cuatro Patas

[2] Edwin Padilla-López, a.k.a. “Play/NBA/Pliki/Biscochito/Bizcochito/Juga” 

[3] Ronald Aponte-Marquez, a.k.a. “El Enano/Enano/Sepe”

[4] Eroz Rodríguez-Hernández, a.k.a. “Eros/Wason/El Joker”

[5] José Jiménez-Ramos, a.k.a. “El Mono/Mono/Joel El Mono”

[6] Lenne Carrasquillo-Serrano, a.k.a. “Taz/Leny/Lenny/Lenee/La J”

[7] Giovanny Solis-Carrasco, a.k.a. “Blanquito/Jova El Blanco/Joba El Blanco/Jova”

[8] Evaristo González-Vega, a.k.a. “Sonic/Viejo/Eva”

[9] Jariel Figueroa-Maymi, a.k.a. “Moni”

[10] José Torres-Pagán, a.k.a. “Abelino/Ave/Abe”

[11] Carlos De Jesús-García, a.k.a. “Oreja/Orejas”

[12] Gabriel Vázquez-Roldán, a.k.a. “Gordo/Gabby Gordo/Goldo/Goldito/Goldo Vázquez”

[13] José Martinez-Galvez, a.k.a. “El Chef/El Che/Chef”

[14] Armando L. Rivera-Rodríguez

[15] Jan Borges De Jesús, a.k.a. “El Man/Jan el Man/Jan El Chulo”

[16] Lester Vélez-Rodríguez, a.k.a. “El Eco/El Feo/Coco”

[17] Vanessa Santiago-Cotto

[18] Diana Mimoso-Figueroa, a.k.a. “La D/Di”

[19] José de la Vega, a.k.a. “Chupi/Pablo/Pablito”

[20] Michael Rodríguez-Flores, a.k.a. “Pinki”

[21] José Gautier-Medina, a.k.a. “Tempo”

[22] Miguel González-Sánchez, a.k.a. “Miky/Mikyy/El Code”

[23] Brian Sierra-Feliciano, a.k.a. “Kobe”

[24] Eric Camacho-Castro, a.k.a. “Pali” [25] Héctor Torres-Pagán, a.k.a. “Pepo”

[26] Christian Martines-Franco, a.k.a. “El Menor/Menor/El Mynor/Mynor/Christian Menor”

[27] Edward Vázquez-Concepción, a.k.a. “Draculín/Drácula/Draco/Bestia Demon”

[28] Juan Acevedo-Ramos, a.k.a. “Tono/Tonito/Pelotero Kuker”

[29] Jean Villanueva-Figueroa, a.k.a. “Mueca/Mueka/Jan Mueca/Jean Mueca”

[30] Waldemar Pedraza-Díaz, a.k.a. “Walde”

[31] Melquiades Santana-Martínez, a.k.a. “Melki/Melqi”

[32] Juan Orellano-Díaz, a.k.a. “El Indio/Indio”

[33] Cesar Acevedo-Adorno

[34] Elimelec García-Escoda, a.k.a. “Flaco/Eli/Elimelek”

[35] Christopher Contreras-Baez, a.k.a. “Chimuelo”

[36] Luis Burgos-Ofarril, a.k.a. “Pájaro” 

[37] Francisco López-Sánchez

Twenty-six defendants are charged in Count Seven with possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Count Eight charges eight defendants with possession of a machinegun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Count Nine charges defendants [15] Jan Borges De Jesús, [20] Michael Rodríguez-Flores, [21] José Gautier-Medina, [22] Miguel González-Sánchez, and [23] Brian Sierra-Feliciano for the murder of M.R.M. on May 15, 2022, in Caguas. This murder is related to a shooting that took place in Barriada Morales where a woman was killed, and a man was injured.

Count Ten charges [38] Sheila Luyando-Fuentes with wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information. According to the indictment, Luyando-Fuentes, who was employed in the health care industry and had access to protected health information, acted as a facilitator and shared protected health information with gang members, including information about rival gang members hospitalized with injuries resulting from gun fights between the gangs, to assist in the gang’s efforts to locate and kill their enemies.

This investigation was led by the FBI San Juan Violent Gang Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of Special Agents and Task Force Officers from the FBI, Puerto Rico Bureau of Police (PRPB), San Juan Municipal Police, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Puerto Rico Treasury Department (Hacienda), United States Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of the Inspector General (HUD-OIG), Carolina Municipal Police Department, and the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections (PRDOC).

The FBI thanks the United States Marshals Service, PRPB Caguas Strike Force and PRPB Arrestos Especiales for their assistance in this investigation. 

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 AUSAs Damaré Theriot, Héctor Siaca Flores, and R. Vance Eaton are prosecuting the case. If convicted on the drug charges, the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years, and up to life in prison. If convicted of both the drug and firearms charges in Count Seven, the defendants face a minimum sentence of 15 years, and up to life in prison. The defendants charged in Count Eight with possession of machineguns in furtherance of drug trafficking face a mandatory consecutive sentence of thirty years in prison. The defendants charged in Count Nine with the firearms-related murder of M.R.M. face a potential sentence of life imprisonment and, if authorized by the Attorney General of the United States, the death penalty. The defendant charged in Count Ten faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. All defendants charged in the drug conspiracy are facing a narcotics forfeiture allegation of $132,000,060.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (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 August 3, 2023

Violent Crime
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses