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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
August 30, 2002

Five Drug Couriers Crewmembers of Carnival Destiny and the Intended Drug Recipient Arrested During DEA Undercover Operation in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the Caribbean, praised the Aruba Politie Organized Crime Unit and the Aruba Customs in their continued cooperation with the DEA Caribbean Division efforts in the region. As a result of said cooperation, Six (6) individuals, Five (5) crewmembers of the Carnival Destiny, and the individual who was awaiting delivery of the drugs, were arrested in San Juan, Puerto Rico. These individuals were charged, in the District of Puerto Rico, with violation of Title 21 U.S. Code, Section 952(a) (Importation of a controlled substance) and Section 963 (Attempt and conspiracy).

On August 2, 2002, the Aruba Customs detained: Unsem Kenford HARRIS, 32, from St. Vincent; Kevin Roberto ESPINOSA-Espinosa, 29, from Cartagena, Colombia; Luis Edilberto CABRERA-Cabrera, 35, from San Miguel, El Salvador; Pablo Alberto HAMILTON-Guzman, 39, from the Dominican Republic; and Ricardo ABRAMSON-Paredes, 41, from the Dominican Republic. These individuals were crewmembers of the Carnival Destiny, which had stopped in Aruba. Aruba Customs discovered that these individuals possessed, amongst each other, approximately 1.3 kilograms of Colombian heroin, which they intended to deliver to several individuals at their next port of entry, which was San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The close cooperation of the Aruba Politie/Aruba Customs with the DEA in San Juan, Puerto Rico permitted the prompt development of an undercover operation intended to identify the recipients of the heroin in Puerto Rico. On August 4, 2002, DEA undercover agents posing as drug couriers arrested Jose Nicador ORTIZ-Moreta, 30, alias "Coca Cola", Dominican and resident of the Bronx, New York, as he gave the undercover DEA agents over $2,000.00 as transportation fee for bringing the heroin into Puerto Rico.

On August 16, 2002, the Five (5) Carnival Destiny crewmembers were expelled from Aruba and placed under arrest by DEA special agents upon their arrival at the Luis Munoz-Marin International Airport in Carolina, Puerto Rico. Thanks to timely notification and cooperation by the Aruba Politie Organized Crime Unit with regard to the expulsion, on August 21, 2002, Humbert S. Garcia, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, authorized the presentation of charges before the Federal Grand Jury. The Federal Grand Jury Indictment was returned charging these individuals with violations of Title 21 U.S. Code, Sections 952(a) and 963. U.S. Attorney Garcia praised the efforts of the DEA, the Aruba Customs/Aruba Politie, and the U.S. Attorney's Office and commended their innovative use of all the legal and diplomatic tools available, such as the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), to dismantle transnational drug trafficking organizations throughout the Caribbean.

These individuals remain detained without bail, by order of U.S. Magistrate Judge Aida M. Delgado, under the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and are incarcerated at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, pending trial. The Grand Jury Indictment is an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty before the U.S. District Court.

For additional information, please contact Special Agent Waldo P. Santiago, DEA Caribbean Field Division's News Media Representative, at 787-775-1727 or 800-718-0781. For more information about the DEA visit us on the Internet at www.dea.gov. For additional information on the DEA Museum visit www.deamuseum.org.

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