Four Members of an Organization That Committed 14 Armed Robberies in Puerto Rico Indicted Under the RICO Act
SAN JUAN, PR—On October 29, 2014, an indictment issued by a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico was unsealed, charging four defendants with racketeering, interference with commerce by robbery, and related firearm offenses, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The FBI is in charge of the investigation.
The Indictment charges Luis Ruiz-Santiago, a/k/a “Turbo/Wicho;” Roberto García-Santiago, a/k/a “Piri;” Jesús Ramírez-Cotto, “Coco/Conteo;” and Carlos López-Soto, a/k/a “Chemito” with violating the RICO Act, Hobbs Act, and using firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence. These four defendants were part of a criminal organization that engaged in robbery and acts of violence.
The purpose of the criminal enterprise was to enrich its members and associates. To accomplish this, defendants would: (1) commit armed robberies during which, through the use of force, violence, and intimidation, they would take money, electronics, and other property from persons and businesses, (2) pool resources in order to accomplish the robberies, (3) use guns to commit the robberies, (4) have a getaway driver for the robberies, (5) sell the items that were obtained from the robberies, and (6) share the proceeds of the robberies. The indictment alleges that the defendants are responsible for fourteen (14) armed robberies to persons, businesses, and street vendors. Through these robberies, defendants were able to obtain at least eighty-thousand dollars ($80,000.00) in profits.
“This RICO prosecution shows the continued commitment of federal and state authorities to disrupt and dismantle violent organizations whose members affect the daily lives of the people residing in Puerto Rico,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico is determined to eliminate criminal organizations which engage in violent offenses for profit, at the expense of the safety and well-being of our citizens.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Victor O. Acevedo-Hernández from the RICO Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kelly Zenón-Matos.
If convicted, the defendants face up to life in prison. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.