Four Individuals Found Guilty Of Drug Trafficking
SAN JUAN, P.R. – After a nine-day jury trial, Jovanni Varestin-Cruz, a.k.a. “Jova,” Rocky Martínez-Negrón, Edgar Collazo-Rivera, and Carlos Raymundi-Hernández were found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. United States District Court Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez presided over the trial. Twenty-five other co-conspirators had already pled guilty and are awaiting sentence. Defendants Anthony Declet- Rivera and Antonio Rivera-Rodríguez remain fugitives.
These defendants were part of the drug trafficking organization lead by José D. Figueroa-Agosto, a.k.a. “Junior Capsula;” Elvin Torres Estrada, a.k.a. “Muñecón;” Ángel Ayala-Vázquez, a.k.a. “Angelo Millones;” and Samuel Negrón-Hernández, a.k.a. “Samy Tostón.” According to the indictment, from in or about March 2005, to in or about June 2010, the defendants, along with others, intentionally combined, conspired and agreed to import and to possess with intent to distribute more than ten thousand (10,000) kilograms of cocaine and heroin.
During trial, the government presented witness’ testimony that narrated the criminal conduct that these individuals participated in a drug trafficking organization that imported the kilograms of cocaine and heroin from the Dominican Republic, to Puerto Rico and further transshipment to the Continental United States for distribution and sale. The complex conspiracy involved numerous players with various roles, bags filled with U.S. currency, maritime coordination, and firearms. A jury heard lay and expert testimony at trial that proved the defendants’ willful participation and knowing involvement in the conspiracy.
Defendant Edgar Collazo-Rivera was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. He arranged the transportation of narcotics proceeds, approximately eight million dollars, to the Dominican Republicusing privately owned yachts to transport the U.S. currency. Carlos Raymundi-Hernández was also found guilty of conspiracy to import controlled substances.
“These convictions mark yet another victory in our fight against narcotics in Puerto Rico. Our team of prosecutors and case agents set an excellent example of teamwork during the investigation which led to the conviction of these defendants at trial,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Olga B. Castellón-Miranda and John Andre Mathews II. The defendants face a maximum penalty of up to life imprisonment. The sentencing is scheduled for November 18, 2016, and the defendants were remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals.