Fifteen Individuals Indicted for Shipping Cocaine to the Continental United States
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On May 11, 2022, a Federal Grand Jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a four-count indictment and a three-count superseding indictment against 15 defendants for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The agencies in charge of the investigation are the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The thirteen individuals charged in the indictment are:
Pablo Colón-Rolón, a.k.a “Gordo/Goldo”
Enmanuel Matos-Matos, a.k.a “El Menor”
José Pérez-Cuevas, a.k.a “Chipolo”
Juan Manuel Vázquez-Díaz, a.k.a “Demente”
Saul Montalvo-Mulero, a.k.a “La Momia”
Luis M. Ortiz-Rivera, a.k.a “Jingo/Ñingo”
Miguel Piñeiro-Ramos, a.k.a “El Grande”
Nelson Suárez-Ortiz, a.k.a “El Cocinero/El Quemao”
Carlos Marrero-Vazquez, a.k.a “El Cartero”
Johan Torres-Feliciano, a.k.a “El Ingeniero/Inge”
Gustavo Rivera-Mulero, a.k.a “El Cano”
From at least the year 2020, until March 2021, the defendants conspired to distribute wholesale amounts of cocaine within Puerto Rico and the continental United States including Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Alabama, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York among others, for financial gain and profit.
As part of the manner and means of the conspiracy, the co-conspirators met at cock fighting events around Puerto Rico, networking with known and unknown co-conspirators, and entered deals for the purchase, transfer, and sale of kilogram quantities of cocaine. They utilized the U.S. Postal Service and other private shipping companies to transport the cocaine to the various locations in the U.S. When the co-conspirators utilized the private shipping companies, they concealed the kilograms of cocaine in buckets of industrial sealant, household items, and board games, among other things.
Other co-conspirators located in the continental United States would receive the cocaine shipments and further distribute them to other co-conspirators. These co-conspirators collected the proceeds from the sale of cocaine in the continental United States for its return to Puerto Rico.
Ten (10) of these defendants are facing one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. The defendants conducted financial transactions with the proceeds of drug trafficking by transferring the proceeds from the continental U.S. to co-conspirators in Puerto Rico.
Defendant Abraham Nelson-Brenes in facing one count for knowingly managing and controlling a place located at Urbanization Jardines de Dorado for the purpose of unlawfully storing and distributing kilograms of cocaine.
The superseding indictment charges Juan González-Ayala, Carlos Castro-Lecumberri, and Jonathan Santiago-Hernández of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute wholesale amounts of cocaine within Puerto Rico and the continental U.S. for financial gain and profit.
Defendant Santiago-Hernández is facing one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille García from the Transnational Organized Section and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Vance Eaton from the Gang Section are in charge of the prosecution of the cases. The defendants face a possible sentence of 10 years up to life in prison for the drug trafficking charges, and up to 20 years for the money laundering charges.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.