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Press Release

42 Individuals Indicted For Drug Trafficking In The Municipality Of San Juan

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

SAN JUAN, PR – On February 26, 2013, a federal grand jury indicted 42 individuals as a result of an investigation led by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The following agencies collaborated during the arrests: DEA, FBI, ATF, CBP, San Juan and Guaynabo Municipal Police.

The defendants are charged in a six-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances in a federally protected location, conspiracy to distribute  heroin, “crack” (cocaine base), cocaine, marihuana, Oxycodone, (commonly known as Percocet), and Alprazolam, (commonly known as Xanax).  The object of the conspiracy was to distribute controlled substances at the Ernesto Ramos Antonini Public Housing Project and other areas nearby within the Municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for significant financial gain and profit. 

According to the indictment, from on or about the year 2005, the defendants conspired to possess with the intent to distribute narcotics.  The main leader of the organization was Raymond Cruz-Serrano, aka “R.” He controlled and supervised the drug trafficking operations at the drug points. Cruz-Serrano was the owner of the marihuana sold at $6 and crack.  He also acted as an enforcer.

According to the indictment, the 42 co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy.  These were: one leader; three managers; five drug owners; one enforcer; seven runners; 23 sellers and two lookouts.

The defendants are: [1] Raymond Cruz-Serrano A/K/A“R”; [2] Ricardo Cruz-Serrano A/K/A “Chino”; [3] Reynaldo Cruz-Robles A/K/A “Naldy”, “J”; [4] Sheila Matos-Sandoval A/K/A “Mulan”; [5] Nelson Benitez-Benitez A/K/A “Pepon”; [6] Christian De Jesús-Benitez A/K/A “7 Pies”; [7] Ángel D. Olmo-Díaz A/K/A “Pollo”; [8] Nicolas Marrero-Matos A/K/A “Nick”, “Nicky”, “Cascon”; [9] Carlos Cruz-Centeno A/K/A “Motorita”; [10] Victor Vega-Sterling A/K/A “Goliath”; [11] Luz V. Romero-Vaello A/K/A “Lucy”, “Travesti”; [12] Gustavo Baez-Castro A/K/A “De La Guetto”, “De La Guizzu”; [13] Luis J. Pizarro-Ortiz A/K/A “Negro, “Loiza”; [14] Ángel Pacheco-Rodríguez A/K/A “Pacheco”, “Viejo”; [15] José R. Levy-Díaz A/K/A “Ricardo”, “Ricardito, “Simio”, “Chorro”; [16] Willie Ray Torres-Reyes A/K/A “Tiburon”; [17] Jesús Martínez-Nieves A/K/A “Goku”, “Cocoon”; [18] Héctor L. Gonzàlez-Castro A/K/A “Chucky”, “Bla-Bla”; [19] Melvin Martínez-Santiago A/K/A “Emba”; [20] Christopher Isaac-Nieves A/K/A “Güimo”; [21] Josean Torres-Reyes A/K/A “Menor”; [22] José L. Sànchez-Ortiz A/K/A “Martillo”; [23] Ian E. Huertas-Santiago A/K/A “Clark”; [24] Rafael Vàzquez-Nieves A/K/A “Nene”; [25] Jordan Martínez-Santiago A/K/A “Yoyo”; [26] Juan Morales-Vàzquez A/K/A “Dino”; [27] Victor N. López A/K/A “Nano”; [28] David Baez-García A/K/A “Blower”; [29] Joel Hernàndez-Nieves A/K/A “Casper”; [30] Jaime Salgado-Pabon A/K/A “Gringo”; [31] Wilfredo Jiménez-Torres A/K/A “Arcangel”, Wilfre; [32] Samuel Hernàndez-Nieves A/K/A “Sammy”; [33] Luis O. Martínez-Nieves A/K/A “Pooh”; [34] Alberto De Jesús-Santiago A/K/A “Carlitos”; [35] Jervesh Alvarado-Ortiz; [36] Luis Rodríguez-Dàvila A/K/A “Gordo”, “Lagrima”; [37] Daniel Duran-Cruz A/K/A “Danny”; [38] Juan Medina-López A/K/A “Juano”; [39] Antonio J. Rivera-Serrano A/K/A “Blanquito”; [40] Ruben E. Castillo-Colón A/K/A “Indi”; [41] Eric Benitez-Fernàndez; and [42] Erick R. Negrón-Colón A/K/A “Cuca”.

It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that the co-conspirators would conduct drug transactions in the presence of minors and would use and employ juveniles under the age of 18, to distribute narcotics at the drug distribution points located within the housing project.  It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that some members of the drug trafficking organization would routinely possess, carry, brandish and use firearms to protect themselves and their drug trafficking organization.  Twenty-one members of the drug trafficking organization are facing one count for using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

“This investigation and today’s arrests have dismantled a violent criminal organization dedicated to polluting our neighborhoods with drugs,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.   “These arrests demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to hold ruthless drug traffickers responsible for selling narcotics in our communities.  Along with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to bring these drug organizations to justice for the damage they inflict on our communities.”

“These arrests show HSI’s resolve to attack and dismantle the street gangs that are threatening and terrorizing our neighborhoods with violence,” said Ángel Meléndez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “Nobody deserves to live in a community of violence and fear inflicted by unscrupulous gang members who have no respect for human life.  Members of these gangs are institutionally involved in crime and so are their organizations.  Through Operation Caribbean Resilience, HSI will continue to conduct aggressive enforcement actions against members and associates of violent gangs in an effort to return to the citizens in Puerto Rico the peace and safety they deserve.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney César Rivera-Giraud.

If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of ten (10) years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $10 million.  Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Updated April 13, 2015