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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 21, 2020

Approximately Two Million Dollars Seized After Fugitive’s Arrest

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On August 20, 2020, Elvin O. Cruz-Verges, a/k/a “Mellao,” was arrested in a joint law enforcement operation by the FBI, Police of Puerto Rico San Juan Strike Force, and the U.S. Marshals, in the municipality of Aguas Buenas, PR. Defendant Cruz-Verges was a fugitive since February of 2019, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.  

After the arrest, law enforcement authorities requested a search warrant for a residence where the accused was living, and seized approximately two million dollars in cash, 88 kilograms of cocaine, 3.8 kilograms of heroin, and other items.

Defendant Cruz-Verges was a leader in the drug trafficking organization known as “Las FARC,” (Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Cantera). “Las FARC” operated out of Barrio Obrero Ward, including but not limited to El Guano sector, Playita sector, William Street, Eleven Street, Cantera sector, and the Public Housing Projects Villa Kennedy, Las Casas, El Mirador, and Las Margaritas, all located in Santurce, since in or about the year 2006. The goal of “Las FARC” was to maintain control of all the drug trafficking activities within the Santurce area by the use of force, threats, violence, and intimidation.

Cruz-Verges had been previously charged in a seven-count indictment for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, aiding and abetting in the possession and distribution of heroin, crack, cocaine, and marihuana, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  The charged drug conspiracy included 75 defendants.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alberto López-Rocafort and Teresa S. Zapata-Valladares are in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted the defendant faces a minimum sentence of 15 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.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated August 21, 2020