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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Seventy-Two People Charged With Drug Trafficking

U.S. Attorney's Office

San Juan

Press Release

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Att-
orney for the District of Puerto Rico, announced that on September 23, 2016, 
a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a six count indictm-
ent against seventy-two (72) individuals charged with conspiracy to possess 
with intent to distribute controlled substances, aiding and abetting in the pos-
session /distribution of Heroin, cocaine base, cocaine, marijuana, conspiracy 
to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The U.S. Immi-
gration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Police of Puerto Rico Strike
Force are in charge of the investigation.

During the span of the conspiracy, in order to be able to operate a drug point 
at Vista Hermosa Public Housing Project, “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 high level members of the DTO would 
order and authorize, the use of force and violence against members of their 
own DTO suspected of providing information to law enforcement.  

The indictment alleges that the conspirators had many roles in order to further 
the goals of the drug trafficking organization. They served as “leaders”, “drug 
point owners”,“runners”, “sellers”, “drug processors”, among other roles. Also, 
as part of the conspiracy, armed conspirators provided security to the drug po-
int at the Vista Hermosa PHP. Members of the DTO were under the rules dicta-
ted by the leaders regarding the location from where controlled substances co-
uld be sold, how conflict resolution between members of the drug trafficking or-
ganization was to be handled, how conflict resolution between Vista Hermosa 
residents not related to the DTO was to be handled. If said rules were violated, 
the leader or high level members of the DTO would use force, violence, and in-
timidation against the offenders in an effort to maintain order within Vista Herm-

According to the indictment Jaret Navedo-Meléndez, Julio González-Burgos, Jo-
sé Davier Carvente-Guzmán, Kilpatrick Acosta-Cruz, Sergio E. Santa-Otero, Je-
ancristh N. Reyes-Masso, Carlos R. Hernández-Rodríguez, Ángel Román-Ayala,
Jessenia Díaz-Colón, Elba Iris Estrada-Negrón, Rafael O. Álvarez-Cruz, Noel Ma-
nzano-Cintrón, Carlos Luis Hernández-Rodríguez, and an individual known as “Al-
ex Tota”, acted as leaders or drug point owners for the DTO.  The organization al-
so had six (6) defendants that acted as enforcers, two (2) drug processors, nine 
(9) runners, forty (40) sellers, and one (1) facilitator.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa E. Bonhomme and AUSA Kelly Zenon-Matos 
are in charge of the prosecution of the case.  If convicted the defendants face a
minimum sentence of ten (10) years and up to life in prison. Indictments contain 
only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be inno-
cent until and unless proven guilty.

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