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July 12, 10

NEWS / DEA Investigations End With 158 Individuals Indicted for Drug Trafficking in Puerto Rico

Biggest Federal Law Enforcement Operation Ever Conducted in this U.S. Territory
Forfeiture allegations for approximately $263 million

JUL 09 -- SAN JUAN, PR – On July 7, 2010, a federal grand jury indicted one hundred and fifty-eight (158) individuals as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD,). The announcement was made today by Javier F. Pena, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division and United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez. The defendants are charged in three different indictments with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack, cocaine and marijuana, and conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

The drug trafficking organizations were operating in the Kennedy, Del Carmen, Candelaria, Colombus Landing and Roosevelt Public Housing Projects in the municipality of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. More than 500 agents from DEA and PRPD are executing these arrest warrants today in what has been the biggest federal law enforcement operation ever conducted in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, a U.S. Territory in the Lesser Antilles.

The 158 co-conspirators operated in many roles, in order to further the goals of their conspiracies, which included leaders, drug suppliers, supervisors, drug point owners, enforcers, runners, sellers, and facilitators. Most of these co-conspirators would hold more than one role within the conspiracies.

“This DEA massive operation rid the west coast of Puerto Rico of the most hard core and violent traffickers terrorizing this part of the Island” Said Javier F. Pena, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division “The people of Puerto Rico will be celebrating the XXI Central American and Caribbean Games in a week. More than 300,000 visitors from all over the island as well as many nations from the Caribbean and Central American region will come to Puerto Rico’s west coast for this international sports event. DEA efforts will help guarantee a safe environment for all to enjoy these games”

“Today’s DEA operation is the biggest drug trafficking arrest-operation taken place in the District of Puerto Rico. It is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCEDTF) and our ongoing efforts to continue to fight drug trafficking in Puerto Rico,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez. “We will not rest until every town is safe again, and all our citizens can live in peace.”

The case was investigated by the DEA and PRPD, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Olga Castellón and Special Assistant United States Attorney Alberto López Rocafort.

If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of ten (10) years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $4 million. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.




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