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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

63 charged in crackdown on drug trafficking in San Germán

United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico W. Stephen Muldrow

By The Star Staff

A federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico has returned a six-count indictment charging 63 individuals with drug trafficking in San Germán, the United States District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Several federal and local law enforcement agencies are in charge of the investigation and completed the filing of charges and arresting processes with the collaboration of additional federal partner agencies. The investigation and the arrest operation are part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The indictment came down on April 3.

“This case is a prime example of successful drug interdiction operations that result from collaborative work between federal and state agencies,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We can remove wrongdoers from the streets and bring stability and peace to our communities when we jointly bring our resources, personnel, and operational expertise to bear against extensive organized crime networks.”

The indictment alleges that from 2015 through April 3 of this year, the defendants were members of a drug trafficking organization that distributed heroin, cocaine base (commonly known as “crack”), cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl, oxycodone (Percocet), and Alprazolam (Xanax) in the Manuel F. Rossy and El Recreo public housing projects in San Germán and areas nearby for significant financial gain and profit. Court documents allege that the defendants acted in different roles to further the goals of the drug trafficking conspiracy, including as leaders, enforcers, runners, sellers and facilitators.

The government also claimed that the co-conspirators conducted drug trafficking transactions at the basketball court of the housing complexes in the presence of minors and used multiple vehicles to transport money, narcotics and firearms. The acts alleged to have been performed in furtherance of the conspiracy included the delivery of heroin, cocaine, crack, marijuana, and prescription pills to clients. According to the indictment, some of the defendants also mixed fentanyl into the heroin sold at the drug points.

The charged conduct included the use of force, violence and intimidation to maintain control of the drug trafficking operations and intimidate rival gangs. Accordingly, eight defendants were also charged with possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

If convicted, the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, in consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau’s Mayagüez Strike Force teamed with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Marshals Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit in the investigation and arrest operations.

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