Seventy-Seven Individuals Indicted for Drug Trafficking Narcotics Forfeiture Allegations for $20 Million
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 11, 2010|
SAN JUAN, PR—On June 10, 2010, a federal grand jury indicted seventy-seven (77) individuals as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the San Juan Metro Strike Force and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. Forty-two (42) defendants were arrested today. The defendants are charged in a seven-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack, cocaine, marijuana, Percocet and Xanax, conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and forfeiture allegations for twenty million dollars ($20,000,000). Twenty-one (21) defendants in the indictment also face charges of conspiracy to possess and use firearms during and in relation to narcotics trafficking offense.
Defendant José E. Claudio Montes, aka “Chiki Bazooka,” “El Patrón,” “El Boxeador,” “El Father,” “Boss,” “Batista,” “Luchador”, became the leader of the drug trafficking organization after the death of William J. Rivera Perea, aka “Goliat”, in 2006. Seventy-six (76) co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: three (3) leaders, one (1) supplier, nineteen (19) drug point owners, three (3) enforcers, runners, sellers, drug processors, look-outs and facilitators. It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that the drug point would move around through different locations at the San Martin Public Housing Project to avoid detection by law enforcement.
“Today’s operation will help to bring peace to the San Martin neighborhood, a community which has lived through the constant violent acts and threats of this drug trafficking gang,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We will not rest until every town is safe again, and all our citizens can live in peace. Since 2006, Strike Force teams have investigated and prosecuted 1,443 individuals; all the defendants that have gone to trial have been found guilty.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and PRPD, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mariana Bauzá and Special Assistant United States Attorney Alberto López.
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.