40 Individuals Charged With Drug Trafficking
Defendants are facing a narcotics forfeiture allegation of eight million dollars
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On July 12, 2016, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against 40 defendants charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), Carolina Strike Force Unit, are in charge of the investigation, with the collaboration of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the US Marshals.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2009, the organization distributed crack, heroin, cocaine, and marihuana, at the Sábana Abajo Public Housing Project in Carolina and other areas nearby, all for significant financial gain and profit.
The forty defendants acted in different roles in order to further the goals of their organization, to wit: leaders, drug point owners, enforcers, managers, runners, sellers, and facilitators. Twenty-two defendants are facing one charge of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The defendants are: Roberto Rodríguez-Rivera, a.k.a. “Chova”; Chayanne Fernández-Garay, a.k.a “Cantante”; Carlos Clemente-Bultrón, a.k.a. “Tiki”; Luis Marcano-Oquendo, a.k.a. “Tito Escopeta”; Luis O. Rivera-Torres, a.k.a. “Cepillo”; Manuel Pérez-Calderón, a.k.a. “Chichón”; Jean Carlos Fernández-Garay, a.k.a. “Bebo”; Jonathan Fernández-Garay, a.k.a. “Gungle”; Edwin R. Andino-Acevedo, a.k.a. “Pitbul”; Rafael Tanco-Pizarro, a.k.a. “Rafi Tiniebla”; Juan A. Tanco-Báez, a.k.a. “Anthony”; Peter A. Rosario-Serrano; Yomar Clemente-Bultrón, a.k.a. “Búho”; Leandro A. Martínez-Vizcarrondo; Julio E. Núñez-Ortiz, a.k.a. “Piru”; Cynthia González-Landrau; Jacqueline Torres-Serrano; Wadys A. Vázquez-Guzmán, a.k.a. “Guadi”; José Ortiz-Cordero, a.k.a. “Trombo”; Ulises Rivera-Salamán; Jorge Rodríguez-Andino; José Cepeda-Martínez, a.k.a. “Zurdo”; José Loiz Calderón, a.k.a. “Chein”; Charlie Clemente-Andino, a.k.a. “Baby”; David Isaac Febus, a.k.a. “Durán”; Wendemar Andino-Acevedo, a.k.a. “Wen”; Julio Quiñones-Filomeno, a.k.a. “Heli”; David García-Pagán, a.k.a. “Davo”; Melvis I. García-Ramos, a.k.a. “Paciencia”; Yashira González-Álvarez; José Rafael Rivera-Díaz, a.k.a. “Joselito”; Richard Medina-Serrano, a.k.a. “Palomita”; Yariliz Fernández-Garay; Orangel López-Rosado; Javier Ulises Rivera-Salamán, a.k.a. “Tingo”; Ricardo Torres-Díaz, a.k.a. “Richi”; Luis E. Muñoz-Ayuso, a.k.a. “Panteón”; Kevin Velázquez-Rodríguez, aka “Pollo”; and Amaury J. Salamán-Morales.
The defendants and their co-conspirators routinely possessed, carried, brandished and used firearms to protect themselves and their drug trafficking organization, maintain control of their drug points, intimidate and retaliate against other drug trafficking organizations and expand their drug trafficking activities. Armed individuals provided security to the drug point at the housing project and got paid by the organization.
“This particular organization was very violent in nature and operated mostly in Carolina PR. As part of the investigation many weapons such as rifles, fully automatic handguns and regular handguns were seized from members of the organization,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We will continue investigating and prosecuting these individuals who dedicate their lives to criminal activities.”
“The dismantlement of this Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) is part of our agency's constant and arduous mission. We will continue intervening, disrupting and dismantling DTOs that detriment the quality of life of the people who live in Public Housing Projects, as well as the Puerto Rican society in general,” said Matt Donahue, DEA's Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa Zapata-Valladares is 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.