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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Individual Found Guilty Of Drug Trafficking

SAN JUAN, P.R. – After a five-day jury trial, Leoner Martínez-Lantigua was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. United States District Court Judge Francisco Besosa presided over the trial. Five other co-conspirators had already pled guilty and are awaiting sentence. Defendant Erasmo Martínez-Trinidad remains a fugitive.

According to the indictment, throughout July of 2014, the defendant, along with others, intentionally combined, conspired and agreed to possess with intent to distribute more than 41 kilograms of cocaine.

During trial, the government presented video, audio, and telephone recordings of a Homeland Security Investigations undercover operation to transport 48 kilograms of cocaine from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, to Puerto Rico 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 Leoner Martínez-Lantigua’s willful participation and knowing involvement in the conspiracy.   

“This conviction marks 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 this defendant 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 Aaron Howell and Luke Cass. Martínez-Lantigua faces a maximum penalty of up to life imprisonment. The now convicted defendant also faces forfeiture of a white Nissan Altima and a money judgment. The sentencing is scheduled for August 26, 2015 and the defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated May 26, 2015