JAN 31 --H.S. Garcia, United States Attorney, District of Puerto Rico, Jerome M. Harris, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Roberto G. Medina, Special Agent in Charge, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Herman Wirshing, United States Marshal Service (USMS), Pedro Toledo, Superintendent, Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), and Julio Jurado, Chief, State Marshal, Puerto Rico General Justice Court announced today that on January 20, 2005 a Federal Grand Jury indicted twenty-four (24) individuals on charges of conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute, distribution and conspiracy to import narcotic drug controlled substances. All in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) & (b)(1)(b), 846, 952(a), 960(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), and 963. The indictment also charges narcotics forfeiture and money laundering forfeiture allegations in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 853(a)(1) & (2), and 853(p) and Title 18, United States Code, Section 982(a)(1), and conspiracy to launder drug trafficking proceeds in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h).
The indictment alleges that these individuals conspired to smuggle heroin from St. Maarten, Curacao, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Colombia, and Venezuela, into Puerto Rico, United States and thereafter, to distribute said drug within Puerto Rico. This international heroin trafficking organization was based in Bayamón and Ponce, Puerto Rico.
The defendants generated and obtained significant monetary profits from the smuggling and distribution of drugs. Members of this organization would transfer drug proceeds and payments for the purchase of narcotics through Western Union and other means. The indictment charges money laundering forfeiture allegations in the amount of two million dollars ($2,000,000.00). In addition, drug forfeiture allegations were also charged by the Grand Jury in the amount of two million dollars ($2,000,000.00) against any property derived from the proceeds of this illegal activity.
The Grand Jury indicted the following individuals:
GREGORIO REYES-ZAVALA, aka “Mauricio”
Penalties for the narcotics offense alleged in the indictment range from ten (10) years to life imprisonment and fines up to four million dollars ($4,000,000.00). Penalties for the money laundering offense alleged in the indictment range from a fine of not more than five-hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00), or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years, or both.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial and the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation was conducted jointly by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE), and the United States Attorney’s Office. The United States Marshal Service, the Puerto Rico Police Department, and the Puerto Rico State Marshals provided assistance throughout the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nathan J. Schulte.