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Justice News

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two Individuals Arrested For Firearm Violations

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Today, U.S. Magistrate Judges Bruce McGiverin and Silvia Carreño-Coll authorized two separate criminal complaints charging Efrain Rivera-Ramos and Jancarlos Velàzquez-Vàzquez for firearms violations, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

Today, US Magistrate Judge Silvia Carreño-Coll authorized a criminal complaint against Efrain Rivera-Ramos for violations of Title 18 U.S.C. Section 922(o) (possession of a machine gun) and Section 922(g)(1) (aiding and abetting a felon).  The affidavit submitted with the complaint alleges that on or about March 14, 2013, the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) along with the Caguas Special Arrest Units and members of the United States Marshals Service Puerto Rico Violent Offender Task Force executed an outstanding arrest warrant for violations of Puerto Rico weapons law against Efrain Rivera-Ramos in Juncos, PR. The Officers had received information of Rivera-Ramos’ whereabouts from the Bonds Company that had posted his bail for the pending local weapons case. Once the Officers gained entrance to the apartment at Colinas de Magnolias Public Housing Project, Rivera-Ramos was found hiding under a bed of one of the rooms.  Inside the room where the defendant was arrested, a fully automatic Glock pistol, caliber .40, was seized.

Although the underlying facts from the March 14, 2013 incident described above served as the basis for a criminal state prosecution, the same did not result in either a conviction or acquittal, as the charges were dismissed for procedural reasons.

In a separate incident, on March 11, 2014, Rivera-Ramos was arrested by PRPD officers following a shooting between PRPD and some individuals on March 10, 2014, where PRPD agent Joaquin Correa-Ortega was murdered. According to the affidavit, on the night of March 10, 2014, Rivera-Ramos was with Jancarlos Velàzquez-Vàzquez and Rafael Rodríguez-Carrasquillo (deceased).  They were at the “Plaza de Caballos” in Humacao, PR in order to conduct a weapons transaction.

The affidavit further alleges that each of the defendants possessed a “corta” (hand gun) and they also possessed two “palos” meaning long weapons that were in the center of the vehicle available for whoever needed them.

Following the shooting of PRPD agent Joaquin Correa-Ortega, defendants Rivera-Ramos, Velàzquez-Vàzquez and Rodríguez-Carrasquillo ran into the woods. According to the affidavit, Rivera-Ramos and Velàzquez-Vàzquez knew that Rodríguez-Carrasquillo was serving a ten year probation sentence for committing a murder in Juncos, PR.

At the site of the shooting officers recovered the following weapons: one empty 9 mm Glock handgun; one .40 caliber Glock handgun, Model 22, loaded with 20 rounds of ammunition; one .223 caliber, M-16 rifle, which had two magazines attached to it, one of the magazines was loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition and the other magazine was loaded with 14 rounds of ammunition; and one AK-47 rifle, that had two magazines attached to it.  One of the magazines had 30 rounds of ammunition and the other had 40 rounds of ammunition.

The second complaint is against Jancarlos Velàzquez-Vàzquez, who was arrested on March 11, 2014, after another incident where he, together with others, interfered with federal law enforcement personnel while in performance of their official duties. He had in his possession one .40 caliber Glock handgun. He is charged with violations of Title 18 U.S.C. Section 111 (assaulting, resisting, or impeding a federal officer), Section 924(c) (possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence), and Section 2 (aiding and abetting).

If convicted, the defendants could face from 10 years up to life in prison. A criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated April 14, 2015