Twenty-Seven Individuals Indicted for Drug Trafficking in the Municipality of Salinas, Puerto Rico
Defendants Are Facing a Narcotics Forfeiture Allegation of $3 Million
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 29, 2011|
SAN JUAN, PR—On September 27, 2011, a federal grand jury indicted 27 individuals as a result of an investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD)-Guayama Strike Force, announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The defendants are charged in a five-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and aiding and abetting in possession of heroin, “crack” (cocaine base) cocaine, and marijuana. The object of the conspiracy was to distribute controlled substances at the Brisas del Mar Public Housing Project, and other areas located in the Municipality of Salinas, Puerto Rico for significant financial gain.
According to the indictment, beginning on a date unknown, but not later than the year 2007, Jesús Sánchez-Alvarado, aka “Pilo,” was the main leader of the organization. During his absence, he maintained control of the drug points operating at Brisas del Mar Public Housing Project through individuals and co-defendants directly designated by him for that purpose. These co-defendants performed different tasks for the benefit of the leader and the conspiracy, including but not limited to the administration of the daily activities, of the drug points, the execution of the main leader’s orders, the collection of payments or “rent” from the different drug point owners and the safe delivery of those payments or “rent” directly to the leader. These payments were made with U.S. currency, illegal narcotics, or both.
The defendants and their co-conspirators would purchase wholesale quantities of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana in order to distribute the same in street quantity amounts at their drug distribution points. The 27 co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: three leaders/drug point owners, one supplier, two enforcers, five runners, 16 sellers, drug processors, look-outs, and facilitators.
It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that 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 as “drug laboratories” 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.
“This arrest operation will help break the cycle of drug trafficking which we continue to see in these communities. As we weed out the criminal element in these communities, we will be able to rescue, protect and serve the victims of drug-related crimes and the decent citizens who live in those areas,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
“This joint investigation conducted with the Police of Puerto Rico has resulted in the disruption of another violent gang with the individuals responsible being placed in jail. As the general public has seen within the past few weeks, the FBI and the Police of Puerto Rico are actively fighting crime in Puerto Rico, and we will continue to do so,” said Joseph S. Campbell, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Alberto López-Rocafort.
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.