Twenty-Six Members of a Drug Trafficking Organization Based in Arecibo Indicted in the District of Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - United States Attorney H.S. Garcia, District of Puerto Rico; Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Caribbean Division; Miguel Colon, Director, Special Investigations Bureau (NIE); Victor M. Rivera, PRPD Superintendent; and Luis G. Zambrana, Director, Office of Drug Control (OCD), jointly announced today the arrest of eighteen (18) members of a drug trafficking organization operating in the Ramon Marin-Sola Public Housing Project in Arecibo, PR. This investigation targeted the drug trafficking activities of a drug trafficking organization lead by Ludgerio Reyes-Ortiz and his associates.
On November 12, 2003, a federal grand jury indicted Reyes-Ortiz, along with twenty-five (25) additional codefendants, on charges of possession with intent to distribute crack, cocaine and heroin, in violation of Title 21 USC section 841 (a)(1) and 846. As a result of this Task Force investigation 26 arrest warrants had been issued against Reyes-Ortiz and his organization. The indictment accuses Reyes-Ortiz with leading, controlling and supervising the sale of controlled substances at different drug points located in the Marin-Sola Housing Project. Ramon Colon-Arroyo, and Myriam Delgado-Rodriguez were also accused in assisting Reyes-Ortiz in the administration of this drug trafficking organization.
The indictment alleges that the members of the organization planned and arranged the sale of multi kilogram quantities of cocaine, crack and heroin from different locations within and around the Marin-Sola Housing Project. This organization used residences, vehicles, and other locations in and around the housing project to store, package and sell the drugs and conceal the drug proceeds. The indictment further alleges that they utilized lookouts to warn each other of police presence and used drug couriers to ensure the success of their criminal activities. Penalties for convictions of the offenses alleged in the indictment, range from ten (10) years to life imprisonment, and fines up to $4,000,000.00 dollars.
The following defendants were arrested:
1. Jose Salgado
This drug trafficking organization was responsible for operating several cocaine, crack and heroin distribution points throughout the Ramon Marin-Sola Housing Project. In an effort to improve the quality of life of its residents, the DEA was joined by the PRPD, the NIE in this investigation, which was initiated on February 2003, to eradicate the drug trafficking activity in this housing project. The Puerto Rico National Guard Counter Drug Support Task Force provided logistical, communications and helicopter support to the law enforcement teams executing the arrest warrants.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial. The government has the burden of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
This investigation was conducted by the DEA Caribbean Division’s DEA/PRPD/NIE/HACIENDA Task Force, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos J. Martinez.