SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On July 14, 2010, a federal grand jury indicted 110 individuals as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau (ATF) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) - Bayamon Strike Force, announced today U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez. The defendants are charged in a two-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics and controlled substances. Count two charges 20 defendants with using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
The drug trafficking organization is one to the most violent gangs in the Bayamon area. Jose Colon De Jesus, aka "Marcian," was the leader of the conspiracy, which had drug points in Virgilio Davila, Las Gardenias, Brisas de Bayamon and Falin Torrech Public Housing Projects, and other areas in Bayamon. He was arrested on April 30, 2010, for the charges mentioned above by DEA agents.
The defendants are charged with participating in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances for significant financial gain and profit. 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 leaders would maintain a group of co-defendants administrating the activities of the drug distribution points. The leaders of this organization would divide among themselves and their subordinates the proceeds of the drug trafficking sales.
The "drug owners" would often receive proceeds from the sale of specific controlled substances. These controlled substances were sold in distinctive "aggies," vials or packaging, using specific seals or stickers in order to identify and maintain control of the drugs distributed at the drug distribution points. They would use apartments in order to package and conceal the heroin, crack, cocaine, marijuana, pills, equipment and the materials used to process and package the controlled substances. 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.
The 110 co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: five leaders, nine managers/drug owners, one supplier, two enforcers, including one female defendant Griselle Lacosta Franco; 17 runners, 50 sellers, 22 lookouts and four facilitators.
"Today, federal and state law enforcement agencies join forces in removing this drug trafficking organization which for many years had been intimidating the citizens of the municipality of Bayamon with their violence and has been spreading the scourge of illegal drugs in this town and neighboring communities," said Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
"Today's DEA joint operation with ATF and PRPD is another example of DEA's commitment with the People of Puerto Rico in fighting the crime wave affecting our island to bring peace to our communities and make our neighborhoods safer," stated Javier F. Pena, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA, Caribbean Division. "DEA will continue working hand in hand with PRPD's Strike Forces targeting violent drug trafficking organizations operating in every corner of Puerto Rico. DEA's joint effort with PRPD will not stop until the violence subsides and the organizations collapse."
The case was investigated by DEA, ATF and PRPD, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenifer Y. Hernandez Vega and Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cesar Rivera Giraud and Mario Torres Marin.
If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, 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.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice