SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On October 23, a federal grand jury indicted a group of longshoremen working at the seaport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a co-owner of a company that provides freight transportation services and their associates, with conspiracy to import and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.
The individuals charged conspired and coordinated the purchase of kilogram quantities of cocaine and heroin from sources in Colombia and Dominican Republic. The drugs were placed inside containerized cargo vessels that were scheduled to arrive in the seaport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Once in Puerto Rico, longshoremen and other individuals working for private companies, providing services at the San Juan port, would use their employment credentials and privileges to gain access inside the containerized cargo vessels and secure areas inside the seaport to retrieve the controlled substances and deliver them to others waiting outside the seaport. Some of the drugs smuggled were distributed in Puerto Rico and some were further transported to the continental United States for eventual resale.
The defendants who work at the seaport in San Juan are: José E. Gonzàlez-Santiago, aka “Fanfa;” Jesús Negrón-Rossy, aka “Primo Tito;” Noralbert Martínez-López, aka “Norel;” Sergio Ferrer-Rivera, aka “Flaco;” José A. Ortiz-Soto, aka “Chelito;” and Nestor Prestamo-Torres aka “Mopa.” The other co-conspirators are: Rawel Encarnación-Cleto, aka “El Domi;” Carlos E. Acosta, aka “Carlitos;” José Israel Ruiz-Caceres, aka “El Viejo;” and Rodney Caceres-Valentin. The conspirators engaged in this scheme since late 2010.
“These arrests demonstrate the continued commitment of federal and local law enforcement agencies in the fight against drug,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force will continue maximizing all of its combined resources to investigate and prosecute those who disregard our laws and try to smuggle illegal contraband into our jurisdiction.”
The indictment is the result of a long term investigation led by special agents from Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) assigned to the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative to identify, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations that seek to exploit vulnerabilities along U.S. borders, in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), United States Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Puerto Rico Port Authorities.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlos R. Cardona from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The defendants are facing a minimum of 10 years up to life in prison.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.