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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

44 Individuals Indicted For Drug Trafficking In The Municipality Of Mayagüez

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced three indictments and the arrest of 44 defendants charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of controlled substances, and possession of firearms. The agencies in charge of the investigation are Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Police of Puerto Rico (POPR).

One of the indictments, returned on July 19, 2016, by a federal grand jury and unsealed in federal court today, charges 40 individuals with conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute cocaine, cocaine base (crack), marijuana, Percocet and Xanax, all within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising the Columbus Landing Public Housing Project, all for significant financial gain and profit.

The indictment alleges that beginning in 2010, the organization established drug distribution points among several housing projects in the Municipality of Mayagüez. The 40 co-conspirators acted in different roles in order to further the goals of their organization, to wit: supplier, drug point owners, runners, sellers, and facilitators.

Some of the defendants would routinely possess, carry, brandish and use firearms to protect themselves and the drug trafficking organization from rival gangs. Twenty-two of the defendants are facing one count of using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

Another four count indictment, returned on July 19, 2016, by a federal grand jury and unsealed in federal court today, charges 3 individuals with conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute cocaine, cocaine base (crack), and marihuana, all within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising the Columbus Landing Public Housing Projects, all for significant financial gain and profit.

The third indictment returned on the same date charges one individual with possession of a firearm and ammunition after having been previously convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

“Federal and local law enforcement agencies remain committed to work tirelessly to target and eliminate the most significant threats to our communities,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dina Ávila-Jiménez is in charge of the prosecution of the case.  If convicted, the defendants charged with drug trafficking face a minimum sentence of 10 years up to life in prison.  If convicted, the defendant charged alone with possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony crime faces a maximum term in prison of 10 years.  Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt.  Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated July 27, 2016