38 members of ‘Burro’ gang in Caguas accused of drug and weapons trafficking
By The Star Staff
On July 17, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico indicted 38 members of a violent gang in Caguas with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, possession and distribution of controlled substances, and firearms violations, W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, announced Thursday.
“We came close to bringing justice to the family of the victim MRM, who was senselessly killed while she was caught in the crossfire during a gang shootout in May 2022,” Muldrow said at a press conference.
Joseph González, the special agent in charge of the FBI San Juan Field Office, added his perspective: “The gang members arrested today were holding the Caguas region hostage through violence and intimidation. Puerto Rico belongs to the people, and the FBI will continue to disrupt and dismantle these criminal organizations to ensure that this remains the case.”
The indictment alleges that from 2017 to date, the drug trafficking organization distributed heroin, cocaine base (known as “crack”), cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl, oxycodone (Percocet), and alprazolam (Xanax) in specific areas of Caguas and other areas of Puerto Rico, obtaining significant financial gains. Nelson Torres Delgado “El Burro,” leader of the organization and a fugitive since 2017, has maintained control through violence and sophisticated methods of evasion, according to the indictment.
In addition to the federal prosecution, local authorities are also working in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau Special Arrest Unit, and the Guaynabo Municipal Special Response Team, Muldrow said. The joint actions aim not only to address gang violence but also their drug trafficking and distribution networks.
Sheila Luyando Fuentes, an employee in the healthcare industry, was also charged with improper disclosure of individually identifiable health information. She acted as a facilitator and shared protected information with gang members, representing an unusual and alarming case of criminal collaboration, according to the indictment.
The penalties for the crimes vary. If convicted on the drug charges, the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison. Those charged with possession of automatic weapons face a consecutive mandatory sentence of 30 years in prison. Those charged in the firearms-related murder of MRM face possible life in prison and, if authorized by the U.S. attorney general, the death penalty.