Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Torre Chardón, Suite 1201
350 Carlos Chardón Street
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00918

(787) 766-5656

For Immediate Release

May 11, 2010

Rosa E. Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney

Contact: Lymarie V. Llovet-Ayala

Public Affairs Specialist

(787) 282-1820; (787) 340-1835

70 Individuals Indicted for Drug Trafficking

$65,000,000 in Forfeiture Allegations

SAN JUAN, PR — On May 5, 2010, a federal grand jury indicted seventy (70) individuals as a result of an investigation led by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives and Firearms Bureau (ATF), in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) Carolina Strike Force Unit, announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. Thirty-nine (39) defendants were arrested today. The defendants are charged in a six-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack, cocaine, marijuana, Oxycodone, better known as Percocet and Alprazolam, (Xanax). All defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess and use firearms during and in relation to a narcotics trafficking offense. The forfeiture allegations total sixty five million dollars ($65,000,000).

The drug trafficking organization, led by Harold Figueroa Sánchez, aka “Casco,” aka “Gordo,” aka “Cabeza,” was operating in the Torres de Sabana Housing Project, since 2002. At that time, José López Rosario, aka “Coquito,” had control of a drug trafficking distribution point located at Torres de Sabana. Upon Coquito’s death, on July 28, 2006, Figueroa Sánchez became the main leader of the drug trafficking organization. Figueroa-Sánchez controlled, through co-defendants also acting as leaders, the drug distribution points located at Torres de Sabana, as well as other areas in the municipalities of Carolina and Loíza, Puerto Rico.

The seventy (70) co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: six (6) leaders, two (2) suppliers, four (4) enforcers, four (4) runners, fifty (50) sellers, drug processors, look-outs, and four (4) facilitators. They would use the main lobby area of Building A, where there is also a head start, at the the Public Housing Project as their drug distribution point.

As alleged in the indictment, it was part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that some of the defendants and their co-conspirators would use apartments located at Torres de Sabana to store and prepare the narcotics and to store firearms and ammunition. The apartment was referred to as the freezer, because it was equipped with a high capacity air conditioning unit. The defendants also had another apartment, referred to as the other freezer, which was used to discuss their drug trafficking activities and as their leisure and entertainment center. This apartment was equipped with air conditioning, large flat screen television system, electronic game consoles, sofa, and lounge chairs, among other amenities.

Today’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCEDTF) operation was very important in our efforts to fight violent drug trafficking organizations in Puerto Rico, said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The residents of Torres de Sabana will once again be able to take their children to the head starts and schools in their neighborhood, without having to worry about the drug points and the violence around them. Our commitment to continue our efforts with our state counterparts remains firm, the US Attorney’s Office will not rest until all our citizens can feel safe again.

ATF Chief Marcial O. Felix said: ATF agents and Task Force Officers worked long hours in partnership with other Federal and State Officers to disarticulate this violent drug trafficking organization and bring safety and Peace to this neighborhood.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney José Capó Iriarte and Special Assistant US 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.