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Press Release

Four Individuals Indicted For Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On September 23, 2021, a Federal Grand Jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a 14-count indictment against four defendants for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to import a controlled substance, attempted importation of a controlled substance, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, laundering of monetary instruments, and engaging in monetary transactions, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The agencies in charge of the investigation are the Drug Enforcement Administration, Hormigueros Office, assisted by Homeland Security Investigations.

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 The four individuals charged were arrested on October 12 and 13, 2021, and are:

  1. Ramón Antonio Vega-Ortiz, a.k.a. “Gago/Moncho,” designated by OCDETF as a Regional Priority Organization Target (RPOT);
  2. Osvaldo Calderín-Pascual, a.k.a. “Cubano/Calde”;
  3. Luis Almonte-Cruz, a.k.a. “Fiscal”; and
  4. Reinaldo Feliciano-Troche, a.k.a. “Chano”.

The defendants conspired to coordinate and facilitate the maritime importation of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from outside the United States, including from Colombia and the Dominican Republic, into Puerto Rico, for profit. From May 2019 until the return of the indictment, the defendants employed a network of international cocaine suppliers, boat captains and crew members, recruiters, coordinators, facilitators, and loading and unloading crews to obtain, transport, and distribute cocaine.

The criminal enterprise used two primary methods to obtain the cocaine shipments. First, the drug organization recruited and paid boat captains to conduct at sea transfers of the narcotics with boats arriving from outside of the United States. Second, the organization coordinated and paid unloading or receiving crews to transport narcotics that were smuggled into Puerto Rico. Three of the defendants also conspired to launder monetary instruments to legitimize and disguise the true nature, location, source, ownership, and control of illicit proceeds derived from their drug trafficking activities. For example, the defendants laundered drug proceed by purchasing winning lottery tickets, real estate, vehicles and boats.

“Ramón Antonio Vega-Ortiz, designated as a priority target by our OCDETF program, and his organization imported large quantities of cocaine into the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “These arrests demonstrate the collaboration and cooperation by the Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners, and our commitment and resolve to combat transnational criminal organizations.”

Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the DEA, Caribbean Division said: “The DEA and our law enforcement partners will keep working non-stop until we find and disrupt these Transnational Criminal Organizations. Know this, you may run, but you can’t hide, we will find you!”

If found guilty, the defendants are facing narcotics and money laundering forfeiture allegations to include the forfeiture of the following real and personal property:

  1. Property located at Urbanization Extensión La Rambla in Ponce;
  2. Property located at Urbanization Estancias del Golf Club in Ponce;
  3. Solar property in Cabo Rojo;
  4. One 2014 Porsche, 911 Turbo;
  5. One 2015 Acura, TLX;
  6. One 2015 BMW, M4;
  7. One 2021 Lamborghini, Huracan Evo;
  8. One 2016 Dodge, Ram 1500;
  9. One 2016 Dodge, Ram 2500;
  10. One 2017 Ford, F-150;
  11.  One Avanti, Center Console, 25 foot boat;
  12. One Sea Star, Center Console 24 foot boat;
  13. All assets held in two bank accounts;

In addition, at the time of their arrests, some defendants were found in possession of large sums of cash and high value jewelry that were also seized by law enforcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jawayria Z. Auchter from the Transnational Organized Section is in charge of the prosecution of the case. The defendants face a possible sentence of 10 years up to life in prison for the drug trafficking charges, up to 20 years for the money laundering charges, and up to 10 years for the monetary transaction 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.


Updated October 20, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud