Drug Importer "Toño Leña" Indicted for Drug Trafficking As a Result of DEA Investigation
JUN 17 -- SAN JUAN, PR – Javier F. Peña, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Caribbean Division and United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced today that a federal grand jury indicted Ramón Antonio Del Rosario-Puente, aka “Toño Leña,” “El Maestro,” “El Charly,” “El Palo,” “El Bate,” “El Tronco,” “Muelú”, “El Francés,” for his participation in three conspiracies to possess, import and distribute narcotics, from South America to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The defendant is in custody in the Dominican Republic and the United States has requested his extradition.
The indictment charges that in or about the year 2000 to present, Rosario-Puente was the organizer and coordinator of large shipments of cocaine and heroin from South America to the Dominican Republic. Upon receipt of the shipments, the defendant and his co-conspirators (not included in the indictment) would further transport the drug to Puerto Rico and the Continental United States for profit and financial gain. They would use small private airplanes to transport cocaine and heroin from South America and, upon arrival at pre-determined locations, co-conspirators, under the defendant’s direction, dropped bales to the ground while other members of the drug trafficking organization retrieved the narcotics on land for further distribution and transportation.
The indictment alleges that the defendant and his co-conspirators utilized motor vessels in order to transport additional cocaine and heroin from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico. The members of the organization would possess weapons and use deadly force against law enforcement authorities that attempted to prevent their operations. They would also kidnap and torture rival drug traffickers and/or individuals believed to have betrayed the drug trafficking organization. Rosario-Puente would also obtain intelligence information and assistance from corrupt law enforcement officials in the Dominican Republic to further his drug trafficking activities.
“With the help of the Dominican Republic, DEA continues denying the use of the Caribbean Sea and the South America – Dominican Republic air bridge for the smugglers to bring the deadly cargo of drugs into our islands ” stated Javer F. Peña, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Caribbean Division.
“With this indictment the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico sends a message to all drug trafficking organizations that are smuggling drugs into our island: our strong commitment to protect our borders is unwavering and we will not tolerate illegal activities that harm the quality of life in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation, with assistance from Dominican Republic authorities. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Torriente is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, the defendant faces a minimum of ten (10) years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $4 million. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.