Operation New Horizon
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico— H.S. Garcia, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Jerome Harris, Special Agent in Charge Drug Enforcement Administration, Lydia St. John-Mellado, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Marcelino Borges, Director, Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Gustavo Araiza, Chief, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations, and Pedro Toledo, Superintendent, Puerto Rico Police Department, announced the criminal indictment and arrest of nine allegedly members of a drug trafficking organizations for their roles in a complex international drug trafficking scheme that spanned the United States, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
The 15-count indictment that stems from an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted jointly by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allege that the drug trafficking organization run by Ricardo Gonzalez-Zapata and Lucas Omar Osorio-Osorio conspired to import cocaine from Dominican Republic and Venezuela into the United States for distribution and to obtain a significant financial gain and profit.
According to the indictment, members of the drug trafficking conspiracy planned and arranged the loading of cocaine onto cargo containers originating in Venezuela and Dominican Republic and destined to San Juan, Puerto Rico through a complex drug trafficking scheme.
The indictment further alleges that the alleged members of the drug trafficking organization and their conspirators determined the shipping schedules and destinations of containers in order to determine when container ships were bound for Puerto Rico. Multi-kilograms of cocaine were then loaded into these containers to be smuggled to the island. The information of the containers was then transmitted to members of the conspiracy who acted as brokers, shipping supervisors, recipients and transporters working in the Port of Puerto Rico for its distribution.
The following alleged members of the drug trafficking organization were arrested by DEA and ICE agents:
As a result of counts one through 14 of the indictment the defendants shall forfeit to the United States, pursuant to Title 21, United States Code (USC), Sections 853(a)(1) and (2) any property, real or personal, constituting, or derived from proceeds obtained directly or indirectly, as a result of such violation, and any property, real or personal, used or intended to be used in any manner or part to commit and/or facilitate the commission of the violation alleged on the indictment. Forfeited property included but was not limited to $3,300,000 in United States currency and properties in Urbanizacion Caparra Terrace, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The public is reminded that a criminal 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 or proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney George A. Massucco-LaTaif.