SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On April 20, 2021, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a six-count indictment against 16 defendants charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, and Rafael Riviere-Vázquez, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Juan Field Office. The FBI and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB), Aguadilla Strike Force, are in charge of the investigation.
The indictment alleges that since the year 2015, the drug trafficking organization distributed heroin, cocaine base (crack), cocaine, and marihuana in the Andrés Méndez Liceaga and the Hacienda San Andrés Public Housing Projects in the municipality of San Sebastián, all for financial gain and profit. The 16 defendants acted in different roles in order to further the goals of the organization, to wit: leaders, enforcers, runners, sellers and facilitators. Nine of the defendants are relatives.
As part of the conspiracy, the members of the drug trafficking gang established drug points that moved within different areas inside the public housing projects to avoid police detection. Some co-conspirators collected the profits from the drug trafficking sales and traveled within the municipality of San Sebastián and other areas nearby to deliver the proceeds to the leaders of the organization. The defendants had access to different vehicles to transport money, narcotics, and firearms.
At different points during the conspiracy the leaders provided members of the organization with different types of firearms to protect themselves, the narcotics, and their proceeds. The co-conspirators used force, violence, and intimidation to maintain control of the areas in which they operated. Eight defendants are facing one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. All the defendants are facing a narcotics forfeiture allegation of 10 million dollars.
The individuals indicted are:
Richard Cardona-Valle, a/k/a “Richy/Gremlins”
Elvin Pérez-Ortiz, a/k/a “El Menor”
Andy Xavier Torres-Negrón, a/k/a “Bebo/Caculo”
Luis Javier Maldonado-Rodríguez, a/k/a “Goldo/Goldo FN”
Richard Acevedo-Rivera, a/k/a “El Manco”
Marcos Cardona-Valle, a/k/a “Marcos/Michael/M”
Pedro J. Zaragoza-Colón
Liset Ortiz, a/k/a/ “Lisy/La Colorá”
Joel Vargas-Torres, a/k/a “Joel El Pato/Joy”
Raúl M. Vargas-Morales, a/k/a “Raulito”
Josué M. Reyes-Vélez, a/k/a “Tres Pesetas”
José A. Lamboy-Cardona, a/k/a “Jochy”
Elizabeth Cardona-Valle, a/k/a “Lisa”
Carlos Y. rosario-Rosado, a/k/a “Onil”
Juan Valentín-Cruz, a/k/a “Pipa”
Carlos J. Marín-Maldonado, a/k/a “Chino”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Enrique Silva and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristina Caraballo-Colón from the Puerto Rico Department of Justice are in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years, and 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.
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