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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

22 Individuals Charged In Superseding Indictment For Drug Trafficking In The Municipality Of Caguas

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico
Press Release

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On June 19, 2015, a federal grand jury in the
District of Puerto Rico returned a superseding indictment against 22 de-
fendants charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and
distribution of, controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-
Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department
(PRPD), Caguas Strike Force, are in charge of the investigation.

On August 7, 2013, federal and state authorities arrested 139 individuals
from several areas in the municipality of Caguas. These individuals were
charged in four separate indictments. Seventy-nine of those charged were
part of a drug trafficking organization which operated in the Turabo Heights
Public Housing Project. Today, law enforcement authorities executed 22
arrest warrants against the individuals who continued operating the drug
points at Turabo Heights, after the arrests in 2013.

The superseding indictment charges 22 individuals for conspiracy to know-
ingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack),
heroin, cocaine, marihuana, Oxycodone (commonly known as Percocet) and
Alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax), all within 1,000 feet of the real
property comprising the Turabo Heights Public Housing Project, a housing
facility owned by a public housing authority, and other areas nearby and
within the Municipality of Caguas, Puerto Rico.

During the span of the conspiracy, in order to be able to operate a drug point
at Turabo Heights, “rent” would be paid to the leaders of the drug trafficking
organization and their family members. As part of the manner and means of
the conspiracy, control of the drug points at Turabo Heights was, obtained and
maintained by the use of force, violence, and intimidation. The drug points
operated twenty-four (24) hours a day in 3 shifts per day, including a “mid-
night marihuana” shift. Facilitators would act as intermediaries in drug sale
transactions when clients opted not to enter the housing project.

The leader of the organization, José A. García-Cosme, aka “Papo Cachete”
was arrested in August of 2013 during the first round of arrests involving this
organization. During his absence from the Turabo Heights Public Housing
Project, García-Cosme maintained control of the drug points through indivi-
duals and co-defendants directly designated by him. These individuals mana-
ged the daily activities of the drug points, the execution of the main leader’s
orders, the collection of payments or “rent” from the different drug point own-
ers, and the safe delivery of those payments or “rent” directly to the leader.

The superseding indictment also alleges that the co-conspirators had many
roles in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: the leader, José
A. García-Cosme, aka “Papo Cachete”; suppliers; enforcers; runners; sellers;
and facilitators. Defendants Juan R. Matos-Vázquez, aka “Juan Cabezón;”
Israel Arroyo-Serrano, aka “Pacho;” Alfredo Rivera-Flores, aka “Mamita;”
and Raymond O. Díaz, aka “Ratón,” are also facing one charge of conspiracy
to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The other defendants are: Ramón L. Massa-González, aka “Flaco;” Luz E.
García-Cosme, aka “La Vieja;” Gabriel Arroyo-Serrano, aka “Gloty;” Carlos
Andrés García-Cintrón, aka “Carlitos;” Luis Montañez-Matos, aka “Tío Baúl;”
Ricardo Pastrana-Tollens, aka “Ricky;” Héctor I. Llorens-Ruiz, aka “Cuajo;”
Julio Velázquez-Báez, aka “Mueca;” Israel Banks-Jiménez, aka “Cascarita;”
Javier Colón-González, aka “Loquillo;” John Martir-Rosado, aka “Al Qaeda;”
Xavier Martínez, aka “Manota;” Jessamine Román-Rosa, aka “Katty;” Christian
Colón-Agosto, aka “Loco Hugo;” Miguel Benítez-Benítez, aka “Bebeto;” Ray-
naldo Vázquez-Centeno, aka “Shamu;” and Neftalí Gómez-Dones. The defen-
dants are facing a forfeiture allegation of forty-five million dollars.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alberto López-Rocafort and Teresa Zapata-Valladares
are 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.

The defendants were the targets of a long-term Organized Crime Drug Enforce-
ment Task Force (OCDEFT) investigation. The principal mission of the OCD-
ETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug traffic-
king, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those prima-
rily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

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