November 16, 2015
Contact: Ana Pino
Phone Number: (787) 277-4700
13 Individuals Charged With Drug Trafficking In The Municipalities Of Aguadilla And Quebradillas
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - On November 12, 2015, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging 13 individuals with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Puerto Rico Police (PRPD), Aguadilla Strike Force, are in charge of the investigation with the collaboration of the FBI.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2009, the organization distributed heroin, crack, cocaine, and marihuana within 1,000 feet of a real property comprising the Cuesta Vieja Public Housing Project in Aguadilla and the Guarionex Public Housing Project in Quebradillas, all for financial gain and profit.
The 13 defendants are: Ariel Echevarría-Irizarry, aka “Gongo;” Ángel Ramón Serrano-Carmona, aka “Buggy;” Natanael Gómez-Willis, aka “Naty;” Pedro Bonilla-Espinosa, aka “Peter;” Jorge L. Soberal-Mercado, aka “Soberal;” Luis O. Rivera-Méndez, aka “Coco;” Mariela González-Román; Christian Jonás Acevedo-Román, aka “Pirata;” Waleska T. De Jesús, aka “Wally;” José Colón De Jesús, aka “Gandul;” Xiomara Mendoza-Canaca, aka “Xiomy;” Raymond Vega-Flores, aka “Kile;” and Walter Ferrer-Merrit.
The 13 defendants acted in different roles in order to further the goals of their organizations, to wit: leaders, drug point owners, suppliers, runners, enforcers, sellers, facilitators, and look-outs. Some defendants possessed firearms to protect the members of the drug trafficking organizations, the narcotics, the proceeds derived from the sales, and to further accomplish the goals of the conspiracies. Some of the defendants and their co-conspirators would tattoo themselves and wear clothing items with the logo of the organization.
Assistant U.S. Attorney María L. Montañez is in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years, and up to life in prison. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.