News Release
August 5, 2008
For Information Contact:
Waldo P. Santiago
Public Information Officer
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Lymarie V. Llovet-Ayala
Public Affairs Specialist
(787) 282-1820; (787) 340-1835

DEA Arrests Drug Traffickers in Alturas De Cupey
11 Members of Drug Trafficking Organization
Indicted as a Result of DEA Investigation

Aug 5 --SAN JUAN, P.R. – This morning, Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested 7 individuals at the Alturas de Cupey Public Housing Project in San Juan, PR, announced U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez and DEA Caribbean Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Vito S. Guarino. These arrests where made pursuant to a 16-count Grand Jury indictment, issued on July 30, 2008, charging 11 members of a drug trafficking organization operating in the Alturas de Cupey Public Housing Project. The indictment is the result of a DEA investigation targeting a violent drug trafficking organization which conducted their criminal activities through out the City of San Juan and other neighboring municipalities.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office continues its efforts to prosecute drug-related violent crimes in the San Juan area. This investigation is yet another step in our efforts to make this community a safer one” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.

“DEA continues targeting drug trafficking organizations spreading their violence through out the City of San Juan. DEA will investigate these organizations regardless where they operate and will put a stop to their criminal activities which are endangering the safety of our community” said DEA Caribbean Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Vito S. Guarino.

The indictment alleges that the members of the drug trafficking organization distributed cocaine, crack-cocaine, heroin and marijuana from different locations in and around the Alturas the Cupey Housing Project, a housing facility is owned by a public housing authority, in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The defendants charged in the indictment are:

1) Hector RIVERA-Ayra, aka “Papito D Gap”
2) Jose CABRET-Pacheco
3) Hector CARTAGENA-Gerena, aka “Tito”, aka “Pollo”
4) Jose CRUZ-Carrion, aka “J Lai”
5) Christian FERNANDEZ-Jorge, aka “Ardilla”, aka “Capota”
6) Carlos RODRIGUEZ-Cancel, aka “Peluso”
7) Angel R. VEGA-Rivera, aka “Fafe”
8) Edgardo GARCIA-Gonzalez, aka “Alqaeda”, aka “Gardy”
9) Luis OTERO-Valentin, aka “Ricky Mona”, aka “Mona Pasto”
10) Justo FIGUEROA-Carrion, aka “Menor”
11) Octavio RIVERA-Santos, aka “Gringo”

Penalties for the offenses alleged in the indictments range from 10 years to life in prison and fines of up to $4 million dollars.

The investigation is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative, and was lead by the DEA. DEA received the assistance of the following federal and local law enforcement agencies: ATF, CBP, FBI, HUD-OIG, ICE, USMS, DCR, NIE, PRPD and San Juan City PD. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vernon Benet Miles and Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney L. Coker.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.