SAN JUAN, PR — A federal grand jury has indicted 47 in Puerto Rico, charged in a six-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, “crack” (cocaine base,) cocaine, marijuana, Oxycodone (commonly known as “Percocet”), and Alprazolam (commonly known as “Xanax”). Count six charges 36 of them with using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
“This gang was a very violent gang which maintained control of its drug trafficking activities by way of force, violence, and intimidation, but after today’s law enforcement action, this gang will no longer cause harm to the people of Puerto Rico and the residents of the town of Corozal,” said Carlos Cases-Gallardo, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office.
The arrests come as a result of an investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD)-Bayamón Strike Force.
According to the indictment, Luis Agosto-López, aka “Tutin,” became the main leader of the drug trafficking organization upon the death of Gamalier Rosado-Serrano, aka “Gamma,” on or about May 9, 2004. The object of the conspiracy was to distribute controlled substances at the Enrique Landron Public Housing Project, located in the Municipality of Corozal, Puerto Rico, for significant financial gain.
It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that some of the defendants and their co-conspirators would provide payments to an undisclosed source in exchange for sensitive law enforcement information, as to dates and times of prospective interventions by the Police of Puerto Rico at the Enrique Landron Public Housing Project and/or police protection and escort to members of the conspiracy during the transportation of narcotics from different housing projects located within the Municipalities of San Juan and Bayamón to the Enrique Landron Public Housing Project.
The defendants and their co-conspirators would purchase wholesale quantities of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, and Percocet in order to distribute the same in street quantity amounts at their drug distribution points. The 47 co-conspirators had many roles in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: seven leaders/drug point owners, one supplier, three enforcers, five runners, 24 sellers, one drug processor, three look-outs, and three facilitators.
The “drug owners” would often receive proceeds from the sale of these controlled substances. The controlled substances were sold in distinctive baggies, vials, or packaging, using stickers or brands in order to identify and maintain control of the drugs disseminated at the drug distribution points. They would use their homes to process kilogram quantities of narcotics for street level sales. The members of the drug trafficking organization would use force, violence and intimidation in order to gain and maintain control of their drug points and in order to intimidate rival drug trafficking organizations and/or expand their drug trafficking activities.
“Violent drug organizations hold our communities hostage, and promulgate fear, intimidation, and violence, threatening the well being of law abiding citizens,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “This investigation has taken dangerous criminals off the streets of Puerto Rico and send a clear message to other violent gangs that we will break their grip on our communities and bring them to justice.”
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Alberto López-Rocafort and Cesar Rivera-Giraud.
If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $8 million. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.