42 Members of a Violent Gang Charged with Drug Trafficking and Firearms Violations in Manatí, Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Defendant Bryan Gilbert Díaz-De Jesús, a.k.a. “Bryan Gilbert De Jesús,” was sentenced today to 72 months (6 years) in prison for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, and use of a communication facility, announced United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, W. Stephen Muldrow. Díaz-De Jesús pleaded guilty on November 20, 2019.
From May 2019 through August 2019, Díaz-De Jesús, conspired with others to knowingly possess with intent to distribute and to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin in Puerto Rico. The defendant introduced and caused the introduction into interstate commerce, and with the intent to defraud and mislead, a “drug” as defined under Title 21, United States Code, Section 321(g)(1) – specifically, N-phenyl-N-[1(2-phenylethyl)-4-piperindinyl] propenamide, commonly known as fentanyl, that was misbranded, in that the drug’s labeling failed to bear adequate directions for use.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful opioid properties, fentanyl is also diverted for abuse by drug users. Fentanyl is often added to heroin by criminal drug distributors to increase the heroin’s potency to produce a stronger effect on the structure/function of the bodies of drug users. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and are unaware that they are, in fact, purchasing fentanyl. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, just two (2) milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dose for most people.
“Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug, far more potent than heroin, and its use very often results in death. Fentanyl is the number one threat in the opioid epidemic in the United States, and we are seeing an increase in the presence of fentanyl laced with other drugs in Puerto Rico, said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “Federal law provides for particularly severe consequences when illegal drug trafficking results in death. We intend to use every available tool to combat this terrible problem, including these enhanced penalties.”
“The opioid epidemic that has resulted in overdoses and deaths is a national public health crisis. Those who contribute to that crisis and threaten the health and safety of Americans by illicitly distributing opioids will be brought to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Justin Fielder, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Miami Field Office. “The FDA is fully committed to disrupting and dismantling networks engaged in the manufacturing and sale of illicit opioids and misbranded prescription drugs.”
The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) are in charge of the investigation in collaboration with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Assistant U.S. Attorney María L. Montañez-Concepción prosecuted the case.