41 Individuals Indicted for Drug Trafficking in the Municipality of Jayuya
March 15 (San Juan, PR) – On March 6, 2012, a federal grand jury indicted 41 individuals as a result of an investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. This arrest operation is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCEDTF).
The defendants are charged in a seven-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute “crack” (cocaine base,) heroin, cocaine and marijuana. The object of the conspiracy was to distribute controlled substances at the La Montaña Public Housing Project, the Hoyo Frío Ward and other areas nearby and within the Municipality of Jayuya, Puerto Rico, for significant financial gain.
According to the indictment, from on or about the year 2007, the defendants conspired to possess with the intent to distribute and “crack” (cocaine base,) heroin, cocaine and marijuana, at the drug distribution points within La Montaña and Hoyo FríoWard. The main leader of the organization was José Rivera-Dides. The defendant directly controlled the drug trafficking activities at the Hoyo Frío Ward and La Montaña. Additionally, he purchased and transported wholesale amounts of narcotics that were delivered to co-conspirators for further distribution at drug points.
The organization had one supplier, Jorge O. Vicenty. The defendant purchased and transported wholesale amounts of cocaine that were delivered to co-conspirators for further distribution. He also acted as an enforcer, helping other co-conspirators to expel rival drug trafficking organizations from the Jayuya area using force and violence.
According to the indictment, this drug trafficking organization had nine drug owners: Rey González, Edwin Marín-Martínez, Alejandro Rosario-Rivera, Germán Morales-Colón, Miguel Pérez-Rivera; Josué Rosario-Resto, Jonathan Rivera-Medina, Luis E. Acevedo-Oquendo and Luis J. Acevedo-Oquendo. The 41 co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: one leader, one supplier, nine drug owners, four runners, three enforcers and 23 sellers.
It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that at La Montaña, the drug points would be moved to different locations to avoid being detected by law enforcement. According to the indictment, the drug trafficking organization would at times employ the use of minors to perform tasks related to drug trafficking, such as but not limited to performing as lookouts, selling and delivering narcotics and picking up and delivering proceeds from the sales of narcotics at the drug points.
It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that in order to distribute controlled substances at La Montaña, the owner of the controlled substance would have to use a resident of La Montaña to sell the narcotics inside the housing project. Co-conspirators would use apartments and other locations to cook, store, pack, sell and conceal drugs, drug paraphernalia, drug ledgers, drug proceeds, scanners, firearms and ammunition. The members of the drug trafficking organization would possess, carry, use, brandish and/or use firearms in order to protect themselves and their drug trafficking business.
“DEA is in the business of dismantling and eliminating drug trafficking organizations around the world,” said Pedro Janer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Caribbean Division. “Here in Puerto Rico, we target every drug dealer and every organization throughout the island, from the San Juan Metropolitan area to the rural mountain areas of the island. The community of Jayuya is a safer place because today, DEA dismantled a violent drug organization that was ruining the quality of life for many of their citizens. We are committed to creating a safer Puerto Rico by continuing to bring down these violent groups.”
“Violent drug organizations hold our communities hostage, and promulgate fear, intimidation and violence, threatening the well-being of law abiding citizens,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “This investigation has taken dangerous criminals off the streets of Puerto Rico and sends a clear message to other violent gangs that we will break their grip on our communities and bring them to justice, no matter where they are.”
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Olga Castellón and Teresa Zapata.If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $10 million. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.