Seventy-Two (72) Individuals Charged For Drug Trafficking In The Municipality Of San Juan
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, announced that on September 23, 2016, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a six count indictment against seventy-two (72) individuals charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, aiding and abetting in the possession /distribution of Heroin, cocaine base, cocaine, marijuana, conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Police of Puerto Rico Strike Force are in charge of the investigation.
During the span of the conspiracy, in order to be able to operate a drug point at Vista Hermosa Public Housing Project, “rent” would be paid to the leaders of the drug trafficking organization and their family members. As part of the manner and means of the conspiracy high level members of the DTO would order and authorize, the use of force and violence against members of their own DTO suspected of providing information to law enforcement.
The indictment alleges that the conspirators had many roles in order to further the goals of the drug trafficking organization. They served as “leaders”, “drug point owners”, “runners”, “sellers”, “drug processors”, among other roles. Also, as part of the conspiracy, armed conspirators provided security to the drug point at the Vista Hermosa PHP. Members of the DTO were under the rules dictated by the leaders regarding the location from where controlled substances could be sold, how conflict resolution between members of the drug trafficking organization was to be handled, how conflict resolution between Vista Hermosa residents not related to the DTO was to be handled. If said rules were violated, the leader or high level members of the DTO would use force, violence, and intimidation against the offenders in an effort to maintain order within Vista Hermosa.
According to the indictment Jaret Navedo-Meléndez, Julio González-Burgos, José Davier Carvente-Guzmán, Kilpatrick Acosta-Cruz, Sergio E. Santa-Otero, Jeancristh N. Reyes-Masso, Carlos R. Hernández-Rodríguez, Ángel Román-Ayala, Jessenia Díaz-Colón, Elba Iris Estrada-Negrón, Rafael O. Álvarez-Cruz, Noel Manzano-Cintrón, Carlos Luis Hernández-Rodríguez, and an individual known as “Alex Tota”, acted as leaders or drug point owners for the DTO. The organization also had six (6) defendants that acted as enforcers, two (2) drug processors, nine (9) runners, forty (40) sellers, and one (1) facilitator.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa E. Bonhomme and AUSA Kelly Zenon-Matos are in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted the defendants face a minimum sentence of ten (10) years and up to life in prison. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.