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  • The San Juan Daily Star

41 from San Juan gang held in large-scale drug bust


The indictment alleges that the object of the conspiracy was to operate a drug trafficking organization to distribute controlled substances in many areas of San Juan and send narcotics to the mainland United States, with significant financial gain.

By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com


A federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico on Wednesday returned an indictment against 41 members of a violent San Juan gang for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, possession and distribution of controlled goods, substances and firearms violations, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, the United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.


The FBI and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, and the San Juan and Carolina strike forces were in charge of investigating the case, with the collaboration of the United States Marshals Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.


“Last year we arrested Carlos Manuel Cotto Cruz, alias ‘Wasa,’ the leader of this violent organization,” Muldrow said in a written statement. “We continue to work tirelessly to end the organization’s violence and today we have dismantled its drug trafficking activities.”


“This operation reflects the excellent collaboration between our state and federal law enforcement partners, coordinated through our OCDETF [Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces] program,” he added.


“It is important to note that during today’s operation we arrested several drug trafficking leaders in Puerto Rico,” said Joseph González, the FBI special agent in charge of the San Juan Field Office. “We know that this does not mean that our work is done, and what I want to make clear is that we will not stop.”


The indictment alleges that from 2016 to the date of the return of the indictment, the drug trafficking organization distributed heroin, cocaine base (commonly known as “crack”), cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone (Percocet), alprazolam (Xanax), and buprenorphine (Suboxone) within 1,000 feet of the Vista Hermosa, Villa España and Luis Lloréns Torres public housing projects, and other nearby areas. The object of the conspiracy was to operate a drug trafficking organization to distribute controlled substances in many areas of the municipality of San Juan and send narcotics to the continental United States, with significant financial gain.


During the course of the investigation, members of the conspiracy received drug shipments off the coast of Puerto Rico from vessels that had traveled from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Members of the organization also transported and distributed kilograms of cocaine from Puerto Rico to the continental United States.

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