Former Puerto Rico Police Officer And Associate Indicted And Arrested For Dealing In Firearms Without A License
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On October 30, 2019, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against Puerto Rico Police Officer Indira Osorio-Ortiz and her associate Lester R. Vázquez-Cintrón for conspiracy to engage in firearms trafficking without a license, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The FBI is in charge of the investigation.
The object of the conspiracy was to sell firearms unlawfully for pecuniary gain in the District of Puerto Rico. Beginning in or about the month of September 2019 in the District of Puerto Rico and the Middle District of Florida, the defendants engaged in the business of dealing in firearms without license. Indira Osorio-Ortiz abused her position as a police officer to gain access to firearms to sell unlawfully and subsequently she facilitated firearms transactions for Lester R. Vázquez-Cintrón by delivering, and coordinating the delivery of firearms to buyers on Vázquez-Cintrón’s behalf.
The indictment includes one conspiracy count, five counts for engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and two counts for obstruction of justice. On September 17, 2019, Osorio-Ortiz sold a Glock pistol to an individual (hereafter “Individual A”) for $1,500. On September 19, Vázquez-Cintrón offered to sell two fully automatic firearms to Individual A via telephone. On September 20, Osorio-Ortiz traveled to the parking lot of a Chili’s restaurant located in Humacao, PR for the purpose of finalizing the sale of the two fully automatic firearms that Vázquez-Cintrón agreed to sell to Individual A the day prior. This transaction was not completed because Vázquez-Cintrón demanded a last-minute change to the location where he and Osorio-Ortiz had agreed the transaction would take place.
On September 26, Osorio-Ortiz traveled to the parking lot of the Montehiedra Shopping Center in San Juan, PR, and sold to Individual A her POPR-issued firearm, a Smith and Wesson pistol for $2,500, and a second firearm that she stated she had removed from the POPR evidence room, a Glock pistol.
On September 27, Osorio-Ortiz filed a false police report, claiming that her POPR-issued weapon had been stolen from her residence. Thereafter, on October 10, Osorio-Ortiz filed another false police report claiming that the pistol she had taken out of the POPR evidence room and sold had been stolen from her locker. These two false reports constitute the two obstruction of justice charges.
On October 8, Osorio-Ortiz traveled to the parking lot of the Montehiedra Shopping Center to facilitate a firearm transaction between Vázquez-Cintrón and Individual A. Accompanied by Osorio-Ortiz, Individual A purchased a fully automatic rifle with no serial number for $2,500 from individuals unknown to the Grand Jury.
On October 10, Osorio-Ortiz traveled to the parking lot of the Montehiedra Shopping Center to facilitate a firearm transaction between Vázquez-Cintrón and Individual A. Osorio-Ortiz delivered to Individual A two Glock pistols and received $2,800 in return. Osorio-Ortiz agreed that she would deliver additional firearms to Individual A.
“Police officers have a critical public safety responsibility, and those who decide to cross the line and engage in criminal misconduct will be held accountable,” said United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow. “We will vigorously prosecute those involved in the illegal sale and trafficking of firearms, which are then used in the commission of violent crimes. We are committed to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, who all too frequently endanger our community.”
“Law enforcement officers are invested with the crucial task of serving and protecting the people in their community. When instead of doing so, they engage in illegal activity, they put their communities and the entire justice system at risk. This is sad and unacceptable. Which is why today is a good day,” said Douglas A. Leff, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI. “The FBI would like to thank Police of Puerto Rico for their continued support of the FBI mission and their participation in bringing down rotten apples in their midst. There are excellent men and women among the ranks POPR and these subjects do not represent them.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Alum is in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy count and each gun trafficking count, and Osorio-Ortiz faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 for the obstruction counts. An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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