DEA Arrest 64 Drug Traffickers in Operation Black Bull
SEP 30, 2009 -- SAN JUAN, PR – Sixty four (64) out of Seventy three (73) individuals indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on September 24, 2009, were arrested today as a result of an investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced today DEA Caribbean Division Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña and United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, District of Puerto Rico.
These individuals belonged to several drug trafficking organizations operating at the following locations in the southern town of Villalba, PR: Barrio Chino Ward, Maximino Miranda Housing Project, Enudio Negrón Housing Project, Efraín Suárez Housing Project, Camarones Ward, Borinquen Ward, Alturas de Villalba, Los Primos Tire Center, Margarita’s Café, Jagüeyes Ward, and the Barrio Higuero Ward.
The eight (8) indictments charge that the defendants participated in separate conspiracies to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. The members of the largest organization, which included thirty six (36) defendants, are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, crack and marijuana; conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to drug trafficking crimes; and a forfeiture allegation for ten million dollars ($10,000,000).
The leader of the drug trafficking organization which includes 35 other accused individuals is Antonio Blanco Alvarado, aka “Tony Blanco.” He is also charged in two other separate indictments with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The charges returned by the grand jury are different in each indictment, and the total for all the forfeiture charges is fourteen million dollars ($14,000,000).
Three other defendants are charged in more than one indictment: José A. Nigaglioni, aka “El Negro Chardon,” who was a leader and a heroin supplier; José L. Serrano Ríos, aka “El Buho,” a cocaine and marihuana seller; and Luis Ricardo Santiago Morales aka “Ricky Gato,” who was a cocaine and marihuana seller.
"There are no safe heavens for drug trafficking organizations in Puerto Rico. No matter from what town you operate, DEA and the Strike Force will find you. DEA, through its HIDTA Task Forces, continues its close collaboration with the Strike Force to root out drug traffickers from every corner of the island." said Javier Peña, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Caribbean Division. "Today's operation is a prime example of how DEA and the Strike Force and HIDTA programs are more effective when we join forces and resources to pull in one direction to investigate these violent criminal organizations engaged in drug trafficking throughout the island"
“Today, the streets in the Municipality of Villalba are safer; more than 300 federal and state law enforcement agents executed 73 arrest warrants as part of our ongoing battle against the drug trafficking organizations that operate all around Puerto Rico,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We will not rest until every town is safe again, and all our citizens can live in peace.”
The case was investigated by the DEA HIDTA Ponce Resident Office jointly with the PRPD Ponce Strike Force as part of OCDETF Operation Black Bull. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys José Capó Iriarte and Myriam Fernández.
If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of ten (10) years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $4 million. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.