SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Last week, two federal grand juries in the District of Puerto Rico returned 14 indictments charging 21 defendants during the first week that the United States District Court in Puerto Rico reconvened grand jury proceedings after implementation of health and safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The indictments include charges of firearms violations, drug trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors, cash smuggling, assault on a federal employee, and illegal reentry. The Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air and Marine Operations; and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau were in charge of the different investigations.
“I would like to commend those who enabled our office to present cases to these federal grand jury panels, including United States District Court Chief Judge Gustavo A. Gelpí, Clerk of Court María Antongiorgi-Jordan, and their personnel, who implemented health and safety measures to allow these grand juries to meet,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “The federal grand jury, composed of dedicated citizens willing to serve, is a bedrock of our federal criminal justice system and a Constitutionally-protected right for all members of society. These indictments demonstrate the resolve of our office and our federal and local law enforcement partners to continue our public safety mission, notwithstanding the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
The following defendants were indicted:
- Sean Díaz De León and Juan Carlos Pagán Bonilla were charged with aiding and abetting each other, using a firearm during a carjacking, and causing the deaths of two transgender women.
- Jimmy Andrés Díaz Rosa and Reinaldo Rodríguez Colón were charged with attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
- Andrés Martínez was charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
- Enrique José Félix Velázquez, Juan Manuel Cruz Hernández, Benjamín Pérez Encarnación, and Brian Cruz-Rodríguez were charged with conspiracy to smuggle more than $100,000 in currency on board of a vessel; and conspiracy to jettison property from a vessel. The defendants are facing a forfeiture allegation of approximately 1.3 million dollars.
- Jonathan Ortiz-Castrodad was charged with illegal possession of a machinegun.
- Ángel L. López-Estevez, a convicted felon, was charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
- Wilfredo Fontanez-Reyes was charged with assault on a federal officer. Fontanez-Reyes punched and caused bodily injuries to a postal service employee at the United States Post Office in Comerío, Puerto Rico, while the employee was engaged in his official duties.
- Juan Carlos Fuentes Pérez was charged with possession of a machinegun in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm and ammunition after having been convicted of a felony offense.
- Cristopher Lee Villanueva Díaz was charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
- Fernando Miguel Velázquez-Pérez was charged with attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. He attempted to engage in sexual activity with someone he believed to be a 13 year-old minor.
- Harold Bryan Declet-Rivera was charged with attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. He attempted to engage in sexual activity with someone he believed to be a 13 year-old minor. He was also charged with possession of child pornography.
- Juan Sánchez, an illegal alien, was charged with reentry after having been previously removed from the United States in June 2001.
- Ian Carlos De Jesús-Martir was charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, Oxycodone pills; and importation of a controlled substance.
- Francisco Rosario-Escolástico, Jesús Manuel Quiñones-Otero, and Gregory Polanco were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, attempted possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and obstruction of justice. The defendants are facing a forfeiture allegation of $143,047 in cash, and a Mini-Cooper vehicle.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys José A. Contreras, Ginette Milanes, Marie C. Amy, Jeanette Collazo, Linet Suárez, Juan C. Reyes, John Hutchins, and Desirée Laborde-Sanfiorenzo of the District of Puerto Rico are in charge of the prosecution of the cases. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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