Sixty-Five Members of the Angel Ayala Vazquez Drug Trafficking Organization Indicted $100 Million Forfeiture Count
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 02, 2009|
SAN JUAN, PR—On Sept. 28, 2009, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico issued a seven-count superseding indictment, charging 65 defendants with federal drug trafficking offenses. This morning, 500 federal and state law enforcement agents from the Bayamon Strike Force, arrested 37 members of the Angel Ayala Vazquez (aka “El Negro, Angelo Millones, El Buster, Papa Upa”) drug trafficking organization, which had been established since 1995 at the Jose Celso Barbosa and Sierra Linda Public Housing Projects in Bayamon. This organization is the most powerful drug trafficking organization operating in Puerto Rico. The joint announcement of the arrests was made today by Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico; Luis Fraticelli, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI; Javier Peña, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Jose E. Figueroa Sancha, Superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD); Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Office, Internal Revenue Service (IRS); Roberto Escobar, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Antonio Sagardia, Secretary of Justice for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Ayala Vazquez was arrested on Sept. 18, 2009, and was charged in a complaint authorized by U.S. Magistrate Judge Justo Arenas, with violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 846 and 860. A detention hearing was held on Sept. 24, 2009, and he remains detained pending trial. Ayala Vazquez and the members of his drug trafficking organization are charged with violations of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, specifically: conspiracy to distribute heroin, crack, cocaine, marihuana, detectable amounts of oxycodone (“Percocet”), and detectable amounts of alprazolam (“Xanax”)(Count 1); conspiracy to import narcotics into the customs territory of the United States (Count 2); possession with intent to distribute heroin (Count 3); possession with intent to distribute crack (Count 4); possession with intent to distribute cocaine (Count 5); and possession with intent to distribute marijuana (Count 6).
The indictment also contains forfeiture allegations for $100 million, pursuant to Title 21, United States Code, Section 853 (Count 7). The indictment alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators would attempt to disguise the true nature of their narcotics proceeds by purchasing legitimate assets, including, real estate properties, race cars, motor vehicles, vessels and businesses through the use of “straw owners,” in order to conceal the true ownership of the assets, and the illegal source of the funds used to make the purchases.
The indictment alleges that Ayala Vazquez’ organization supplies narcotics to different drug trafficking organizations operating throughout the island, specifically the Jose Celso Barbosa Public Housing Project in Bayamon, P.R., the location from which the organization originated. It is further alleged that, from approximately 1995 to the present, Ayala Vazquez, has been the principal leader of this organization. He and other members of the organization are responsible for the importation of thousands of kilograms of narcotics to Puerto Rico; the transshipment of narcotics from Puerto Rico to several states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida; the distribution of kilogram quantities of narcotics to other drug trafficking organizations operating in Puerto Rico; and the street level distribution of the same within the Jose Celso Barbosa and Sierra Linda Public Housing Projects located in Bayamon. Ayala Vazquez and members of his drug trafficking organization have used violence in order to maintain control of their drug trafficking activities. Ayala Vazquez has allowed other members of the drug trafficking organization to control the street level sale of the narcotics within other public housing projects and throughout the district of Puerto Rico, so long as the narcotics are purchased from him.
The co-conspirators operated in different roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, to wit: three leaders; four suppliers; two administrators; 12 drug point owners; two enforcers; six runners; 21 sellers; 11 look-outs; and six facilitators.
“Today’s arrests have dealt a major blow to drug trafficking in Puerto Rico. The hard work of the law enforcement agents and prosecutors who were involved in this investigation has finally ended Angelo Millones’ control over many communities in Bayamon. This drug trafficking organization has effectively been dismantled with these arrests. The hardworking families in Barbosa and Sierra Linda will have a new beginning,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez.
“Everything comes to an end. Today DEA puts and end to Angelo Millones and his organization. His drug empire has crumbled,” said Javier F. Peña, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division. “The same way DEA brought down the powerful cartels and drug lords in South America we will bring them down in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico does not need more Angelo Millones aspiring to become copy cats of South American drug lords.”
The investigation was part of the joint efforts of the Bayamon Strike Force Team led by Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico and coordinated by SAUSA Guillermo Gil-Bonar; working in conjunction with the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Police of Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rico Department of Justice and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Penalties for the narcotics offenses alleged in the indictment range from ten years to life imprisonment, and fines of up to four million dollars. 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. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Bayamon Strike Force Assistant U.S. Attorney Olga Castellón, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Henwood, under the supervision of Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Guillermo Gil-Bonar. The investigation into Ayala Vazquez’ drug trafficking organization is ongoing. Members of the public who have information related to the assets controlled by Angel Ayala Vazquez and members of his organization are encouraged to call the following numbers 1-877-872-5656, (787) 277-4700 and (787) 754-6000. All information provided will remain confidential.