44 Individuals Charged With Drug Trafficking
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On December 8, 2017, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against 44 defendants charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in the municipalities of Caguas, Cidra, and Aguas Buenas, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), Caguas Strike Force Unit, are in charge of the investigation, with the collaboration of DEA and the US Marshals.
The indictment alleges that beginning in or about the year 2013, the organization distributed heroin, 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 Turabo Heights, Brisas del Turabo, Juan Jiménez-García, Práxedes Santiago, Jardines de Cidra, and Vistas de Jagüeyes Public Housing Projects and other areas nearby the municipalities of Caguas, Cidra and Aguas Buenas, PR, all for significant financial gain and profit.
The 44 defendants acted in different roles in order to further the goals of their organization, to wit: leaders, drug point owners, drug processors, enforcers, runners, sellers, and facilitators. According to the indictment, defendants and their co-conspirators would deposit money in accounts belonging to incarcerated members of the organization to keep them from cooperating with law enforcement.
The defendants are: Nelson Torres-Delgado, a.k.a. “Nelsito/El Burro”; Wilfredo Maldonado-Ríos, a.k.a “Yuyo/La Flaca”; Juan Blanco-Meléndez, a.k.a. “Puchu”; Pedro José Pomales, a.k.a. “Pedro El Tetón”; Gerardo Rodríguez-Guzmán, a.k.a. “Figurita”; Luis Cataño-Landan, a.k.a. “Beba”; Pedro J. Carrasquillo-Marcano, a.k.a. “Potin”; Carlos J. Reyes-Rosario, a.k.a. “Carlitos Mea”; José Luis González-De Jesús, a.k.a. “Rambo”; Christopher Rivera-Gómez, a.k.a. “Cagao”; Joshuan Casanova-López, a.k.a. “Torito”; Javier J. Suárez-Álvarez, a.k.a. “Javi El Goldo”; Pedro Xavier Montañez-Fernández, a.k.a. “Vito Fernández”; Alexis Pérez-Mléndez, a.k.a. “Lechón/Sexi Carolina”; Jesús Torres-Coss, a.k.a. “Popo”; Jonathan Torres-Coss, a.k.a. “Jonatito”; Carlos Rodríguez-Zayas, a.k.a. “Carlitos Zayas”; Juan G. Díaz-Colón, a.k.a. “Gabi Diente”; Gregorio Angulo-Rosa, a.k.a. “Monkey”; Ángel Betancourt-Flores, a.k.a. “Betan”; Luis M. Hernández-Ramos, a.k.a. “Ardilla”; Kenneth Cedeño-Rodríguez, a.k.a. “La Barbie”; Edwin Padilla-López, a.k.a. “Bebo/Play”; Ángel M. Ruiz-Robles, a.k.a. “Angie”; Félix A. Rosario-Garced, a.k.a. “Chandel”; Emmanuel Figueroa-Centeno, a.k.a. “Emma”; Luis Joel Marrero-Ortiz, a.k.a. “La J”; Reynaldo Ríos-Rodríguez, a.k.a. “Garra”; Jeseiken Rodríguez-Vázquez, a.k.a. “Jeiki”; Juan C. Claudio-Cervera, a.k.a. “Clau”; Onix Rosario-Delgado; José Padilla-Santiago, a.k.a. “Gurabo”; Christian Centeno-Rosado, a.k.a. “Espigao”; Christian Roldán-Colón, a.k.a. “Roldán”; Kesia González-Claudio; Jean Pierre Benítez-Reyes, a.k.a. “Jampi”; Jorge L. Nieves-Colón, a.k.a. “Coli”; Carlos Pedraza-Vázquez, a.k.a. “Carli/Lechón”; Jonathan Hernández-Flores; Ricardo Abel Rivera-Santos, a.k.a. “Abel”; Jorge L. Roque-Cruz, a.k.a. “Chapa”; Emmanuel Díaz-Martínez, a.k.a. “Emanuel Trenzas”; Victor Reyes-Santiago, a.k.a. “Vitito”; and Ernesto Aroche-Rivera, a.k.a. “Flow/Hector”.
Twenty-five of the defendants are facing one charge of possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crime. All of the defendants are facing a narcotics forfeiture allegation of ten million dollars.
“One of our top priorities continues to be the disruption and dismantling of drug trafficking organizations, at every level,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “The result of this joint operation, with the collaboration of our state counterparts, shows our commitment to keep drugs and firearms out of our neighborhoods.”
“This indictment sends a clear message that ATF and its Federal and local partners will tirelessly combat armed drug trafficking and violent crime in Puerto Rico. The criminality that affects the most vulnerable members of the community will never be tolerated,” said Ari Shapira, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Division.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa S. 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.
The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). This multi-agency task force investigates and dismantles major drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi kilogram quantities of narcotics as well as the gang violence that is generated by drug trafficking.
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