Former San Juan Municipal Police Officer Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Violating The Rico Act In Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, P.R. – Today, U.S. District Court Judge Jay A. García-Gregory sentenced former San Juan Municipal Police officer Carlos Velázquez-Fontanez to 40 years in prison for RICO Act violations, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) San Juan and Carolina Strike Forces were in charge of the investigation, with the assistance of PRPD’s Major Crimes Unit.
After a 17-day jury trial, on November 9, 2016, Velázquez-Fontanez was found guilty of racketeering, drug trafficking, drive-by shooting murders and related firearm offenses. During trial, the government presented photos, videos, other documentary evidence, and witness testimonies that proved that the defendant had been participating actively in the drug trafficking organization "La Rompe ONU" and found him guilty of all charges against him.
"La Rompe ONU" was a criminal organization that sold crack, cocaine, heroin, and marihuana in public housing projects, including: Jardines del Paraíso, Villa Andalucía, Alturas de Cupey, Jardines de Cupey, Brisas de Cupey, Los Claveles, Nuestra Señora de Covodonga, Los Lirios, Jardines de Monte Hatillo, Jardines de Campo Rico, Jardines de Berwind, San Martín, Monte Park, and Villa Lomas Verdes Public Housing Projects; as well as El Polvorín Ward, Mango Sector and other surrounding areas within the municipalities of San Juan, Trujillo Alto and Carolina, PR. Members of the organization used violence and intimidation, including murder, to increase the power, territory, and profits of "La Rompe ONU."
According to the evidence presented during trial, Velázquez-Fontanez participated during a drive-by shooting known as the "Tortuguero Massacre." On June 25, 2011, during a "drive-by" shooting, enforcers from the organization shot and killed Edwin Díaz-Cruz, Hervin Valcarcel-Martínez, aka "Prieto," Javier Catala-Bermúdez, and Orlando Meléndez-Villegas.
"We remain undeterred in our commitment to ensure safety and seek justice for victims of violent crimes in Puerto Rico," said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. "‘I thank our team of prosecutors and our federal law enforcement partners for the teamwork they showed in leading us to a successful outcome. We will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to build solid cases against violent criminals and bring them to justice."
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alberto López-Rocafort and Victor O. Acevedo-Hernández were in charge of the prosecution of the case. They were assisted by Attorney from the United States Department of Justice’s Capital Crimes Section and Organized Crime and Gang Section. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) were in charge of the investigation.