CROSSROADS II and OPERATION CARIBE I
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico Guillermo Gil, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico and Rogelio Guevara, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Caribbean Field Division, today announced the arrests of 17 individuals as a result of two parallel investigations targeting several international drug trafficking and money laundering organizations based in Puerto Rico. These organizations engaged in the illicit trafficking of multi-hundred quantities of cocaine and multi-kilogram quantities of heroin, and the laundering of millions of U.S. dollars, obtained from their drug trafficking activities. Their drug trafficking and money laundering activities extended to Venezuela, Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and New York.
The investigations which resulted in todays arrests are: Operation Crossroads II, initiated on December 2000 by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Fajardo, Puerto Rico, and Operation Caribe I, initiated on April of 2001 by the DEA San Juan, Puerto Rico Field Office. Both investigations were closely coordinated with the DEA Special Operations Division (SOD) in Washington, D.C. and with DEA offices in New York, New York; Orlando, Florida; Bogota, Colombia, and Caracas, Venezuela. In addition, these investigations were further supported by a Regional Enforcement Team (RET) which deployed to Puerto Rico.
According to DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson, The success of todays efforts represent cooperative law enforcement at its best. By attacking profit and money laundering activities, authorities were able to dismantle drug trafficking organizations responsible for the distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and large quantities of heroin from the Caribbean to New York.
DEA Administrator Hutchinson added, Todays arrests reflect over a years worth of detailed investigation by DEA offices in the Caribbean, Florida, New York, and DEA Headquarters, and the tireless efforts of several other U.S. agencies, as well the Police, Treasury, and the Special Investigations Bureau from Puerto Rico. It is rewarding to see what can be accomplished when agencies pursue a common goal.
As a result of Operation Caribe I, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the District of Puerto Rico obtained Federal Grand Jury indictments on November 28, 2001 charging 12 individuals with violations to Title 21, U.S. Code, Sections: 846 and 841(a)(1) (conspiracy to possess and possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute); Sections: 960 and 952 (importation or exportation of controlled substances), and Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1956(h) (conspiracy to launder drug trafficking proceeds), Section 1956(a)(2)(A) (laundering of drug proceeds), and Section 2 (aiding and abetting). One individual was charged by Criminal Complaint of violation to Title 21 U.S. Code, Section 846. As a result of Operation Crossroads II, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the District of Puerto Rico obtained Federal Grand Jury Indictment on December 5, 2001 charging 14 individuals with violations to Title 21 U.S. Code, Section 846 (conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance).
Other participating agencies during Operation Crossroads II and Operation Caribe I include: U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; U.S. Customs Service (USCS); U.S. Marshals Service; U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; U.S. Navys Naval Criminal Investigative Service; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration; U.S. Treasury Departments Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; U.S. Treasury Departments Internal Revenue Service (IRS); Puerto Rico Police Department; Puerto Rico Justice Departments Special Investigations Bureau (NIE); Puerto Rico Treasury Department (Hacienda) and the Puerto Rico National Guard Counter Drug Support Task Force.
The SOD is a specialized DEA Division, were attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justices Criminal Division and agents and analysts from the DEA, FBI, USCS, and the IRS provide analytical, investigative and legal support to DEA offices worldwide on very complex and highly technical investigations. The RET is a rapid deployable group of specially trained and equipped DEA Special Agents whom provide critical investigative and tactical support to DEA offices throughout the United States.
The arrested individuals are: Rafael PERALTA, Carlos PARRA, Gilberto CRUZ, Xavier PEREZ, Julio Cesar QUINONES, Daphne JORDAN, Ehrick Frankie DELGADO-Hernandez, Luis SIMMONS-Narvaez, Jose MARTINO-Rivera, Nilson BONILLA, Angel REYES-Orozco, Rolando SANTIAGO-Villafane, Ismael MADE, Juanita CASTRO-Ortiz, Julio MARQUEZ-Alejandro, Luis RIVERA-Villegas, Bartolo MARTE-Jumenez. The arrest operation continues in order to locate the remaining individuals. Those not arrested today will subsequently be declared fugitives and will be sought by the U.S. Marshals Services Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force.
The indictment is an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial. If convicted the defendants face the criminal forfeiture of assets valued in millions of dollars derived from illegal drug trafficking and money laundering activities pursuant to Title 21 U.S. Code, Section 853 and Title 18 U.S. Code, Section 982.
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