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News Release

Federal Grand Jury Indicted Twenty One Persons Involved with
Drug Smuggling, Distribution and Money Laundering

JUL 15--H.S.Garcia, United States Attorney, District of Puerto Rico, Robert G. Medina, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Jose Batista, Supervisor Special Agent, U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigations Division, Patrick Daly, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Jerome Harris, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Orlando Felix, Resident Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol , Tabacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Manuel Gonzalez, Acting Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspectors (USPI); Miguel Colon, Bureau of Special Investigations, Victor Rivera, Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), Juan A. Flores Galarza, Puerto Rico Department of Treasury (Hacienda); James F. Sloan, Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN), Marcelin Borges, Director of Field Operations, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Gustavo Araiza, Chief, Carribbean Air and Marine Branch, Luis Zambrana, Director, Puerto Rico Control Office, and Adalberto Mercado, Commissioner, San Juan Municipal Police, announced today that on July 8, 2003 a Federal Grand Jury indicted twenty one (21)persons involved with drug smuggling, distribution and money laundering. Suspects have been charged with Title 18 United States Code, sections 1956 and 1957; Title 21 United States Code, Sections 952, 963,841(a)(1), and 846; Title 31, United States Code, Sections 5324,5325.

Law enforcement agencies leaded by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Juan conducted a long term investigation targeting the Mickey Vargas-Lugo /Olga Colon drug smuggling, distribution and money laundering organization operating in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the Eastern area of Puerto Rico.

This criminal organization had as primary objective the importation of multi kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine produced in Colombia and South America from various storage locations in St. Marteen, Netherland Antilles and St.Thomas USVI to Puerto Rico for further distribution in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Puerto Rico.

Once in Puerto Rico some of those kilograms were used to supply several drug points in the Eastern area of the island among which were Ceiba Norte Ward and other the drug points owned by Charlie Vazquez.

As of July 15, 2003, eleven (11) defendants have been arrested, at least $298,329 dollars of drug proceeds; 369 kilograms of cocaine and 1.5 kilograms of heroin have been seized. Those defendants already in custody are the following: Pedro M. Beltran-Quintana, Abraham Rohena-Cintron, Efrain Segarra, Jorge Segarra, Juan Segarra, Pablo Davila, Luis R. Benitez-Aviles, Roberto Cortes-Colon, Toma Michael Sarda, Octavio Baez-Arroyo.

Penalties for convictions of the offenses alleged in the indictment range from ten (10) years to life imprisonment and fines up to four million dollars.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entiltled to a fair trial and the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Carmen Marquez.


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