OPERATION MALLORCA (PHASE I)
APR 29--SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - H.S. Garcia, United States Attorney, District of Puerto Rico, and Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, announced the arrests of five members of an international drug trafficking and money laundering organization operating in Puerto Rico and the extradition from Bogotá, Colombia of two members of the same organization. These individuals were arrested pursuant to a Federal Grand Jury indictment issued on June 9, 2004, charging seven (7) individuals on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to import five (5) or more kilograms of cocaine into the United States. The Grand Jury also charged forfeiture allegations for any proceeds related to the money laundering and drug trafficking charges. The arrests were delayed pending extradition proceedings.
The defendants have been charged with violations of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956 (a)(1), (a)(2), 1956 (a)(B)(i)(iii), 1956(h), 1957: 2: 981(a)(1)(C) and Title 21, Sections 841, 846, 952 and 963.
Law enforcement agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) and the Puerto Rico Justice Department’s Special Investigations Bureau (NIE) conducted a joint investigation into the drug smuggling and money laundering activities of Puerto Ricans Jose Pagan-Fuentes, Carlos Chico-Larregui, Johnny Sierra-Vivas, Jim Sanchez-Rios and Salvador Forman-Carcel and Colombians Jose Ricardo Pedraza-Diaz and Carlos Medina.
As part of the conspiracy defendant Jose Pagan-Fuentes directed a drug smuggling and trafficking organization based in Manati, Puerto Rico which received cocaine from Jose Ricardo Pedraza-Diaz which was then distributed to drug dealers in Puerto Rico. The monies received from these drug sales were then transferred to Jose Ricardo Pedraza-Diaz and Carlos Medina utilizing local money launderers.
The penalties for charges of money laundering are a maximum term of 20 years imprisonment and fines of not more than $500,000.00 dollars. The penalties for trafficking in cocaine are a maximum term of not less than 5 years and fines of not less than $5,000,000.00 dollars.
The following defendants were indicted by the Grand Jury in this case:
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 and the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the DEA/PRPD Money Laundering Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ernesto Lopez.