37 Members of a Violent Gang Charged With Drug Trafficking and Firearms Violations in San Juan, Puerto Rico
On August 3, 2022, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging 37 violent gang members from the municipality of San Juan with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, possession and distribution of controlled substances, and firearms violations, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Rico Police Bureau (PRPB), San Juan Strike Force were in charge of the investigation of the case, with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury (Hacienda), the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the San Juan Municipal Police.
“These arrests represent yet another example of the excellent collaboration between our state, local, and federal partners to take violent individuals off the streets,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “I commend the hard work of the agents and prosecutors who have worked tirelessly on this investigation to make our community safer.”
“This series of arrests represents ATF’s collaborative efforts to build, foster, and maintain relationships with our external partners in the continuing fight against those who seek to endanger the innocent with the plague of violent gun crimes,” said Christopher Robinson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF, Miami Field Office.”
The indictment alleges that, from 2021 to the date of the return of the indictment, the drug trafficking organization distributed heroin, cocaine base (commonly known as “crack”), cocaine, marihuana, Oxycodone (Percocet), and Alprazolam (Xanax), within 1,000 feet of the Jardines de Country Club Public Housing Project and the Polvorín Ward. The object of the conspiracy was to operate a drug-trafficking organization to distribute controlled substances in the Jardines de Country Club Public Housing Project in the municipality of San Juan for significant financial profit.
Some members of the drug trafficking organization called themselves “PV” or “PV Familia.” During the investigation, members of the conspiracy moved the location of the drug points to avoid detection from law enforcement. At times, they placed locks on the access door of the building where the drug point was operating and only members of the gang had the keys to that lock, exercising control of the entrance and exit of the building.
As part of the conspiracy, the defendants operated a place where drug addicts could consume the controlled substances bought at the drug points, while out of sight from law enforcement, which they called “El Shooting”.
The defendants acted in different roles in order to further the goals of their organization, to wit: leaders/suppliers, enforcers, runners, sellers, lookouts, and facilitators. The members of the gang used force, violence, and intimidation to maintain control of the areas in which they operated. Members of the gang modified firearms to convert them into automatic weapons (machineguns). Eight (8) defendants are facing one charge of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The defendants are:
Milton Caliel Rodríguez-Medero, a/k/a “Cali/Árabe/Calibre/Gavilán/Calin/K/Cali P”
Johan Javier Rosales-Medero, a/k/a “Johancito/Alcalde/J/Johansity”
Edgar Betancourt-Ortiz, a/k/a “Galdi/Gar/Gardiologo/Galdy/G/Triple G/G2”
Juan Cancio Rivera-Ballester, a/k/a “Pantro/Pacro/Pantron/Pantro Juan”
Julio Ángel Ortiz-Ortiz, a/k/a “Julito”
Carlos Roberto Correa-Agosto, a/k/a “Carlos Best/Best”
Joseph Miguel Sánchez-Figueroa, a/k/a “Cocho/Cochito/Pochito/J Montana”
Jesús Alberto Montañez-Serrano, a/k/a “Vecino/Vecino Patrón”
Onix Javier De León, a/k/a “Tarzán/Chita Tarzán/Tar”
Jasser Vega-Damiani, a/k/a “Piraña/Jasser Praña/Yaz/Yaziel/Bulty/Bulto/Y”
Héctor Kenneth Ramos-Vega, a/k/a “Kene/K Trump/Kene Tiro”
Carlos Miró-Pagán, a/k/a “Farru/Farruko”
Roberto Rodríguez-Medero, a/k/a “Boina/Boinita/R/Rob/Reien/Roller/R Boina”
Ángel Manuel Rivera-Pizarro, a/k/a “Obama/Obama Malo”
Wilmer Alemán Vélez, a/k/a “Manita/Perro/Wil/Wilmer Perro”
Edwin Rafael Moux-Marquez, a/k/a “Mou/Moe/Tripy Tripy”
Ricardo Osorio-Alverio, a/k/a “Giovani/Ricky/Riky/Riky Case”
Tishanny Vélez-Castillo, a/k/a “Tisha/Ticha/Tysha”
Zwailynn Santana-Vázquez, a/k/a “Zwaili/Zua/Zwa/Sua/S”
John Michael Correa-Agosto, a/k/a “John Best/Hermano Best/John Pablo Casella”
Jean Carlos Castillo-Rivera, a/k/a “Tío/El Tío”
William Joel Delgado-Linares, a/k/a “Canito/Kanito/Cano/Will”
Israel Ortiz-Santiago, a/k/a “Chimbi”
Frank Yaniel Torres-García, a/k/a “Gran/Frnk/Ferra/Boss”
Michael Ivaniel Rivera-López, a/k/a “M/Eme/Michel/Em”
Kevin Ortiz-Valentín, a/k/a “El Colo/Colo PV”
Luis Enrique López-Rivera, a/k/a “Chino Bebote/Chino PV”
Larry Ja’Male Michael-Ferrer, a/k/a “Pina”
Alexis De Arce-López, a/k/a “Warrior/Wario/Wariol”
Javier González-Marquez, a/k/a “Javi”
Arlene Morales-Jiménez, a/k/a “La Tuerta”
José Raúl López-Cruz, a/k/a “El Menor/Menor”
FNU, LNU, a/k/a “Kenia Ivette Morales-Serrano/Kenia Marie Rivera-Torres/Kenya
Rivera-Torres/Kenya Marie Rivera-Torres/La Colorá/La Colorada/La Colo/Victoria”
Pablo Rivera-Pimentel, a/k/a “Luisito”
Luis Hernández-Serpa, a/k/a “Barber/Tuto”
Luz Elenia Rivera-Rohena, a/k/a “La Abuela/Abue”
Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) and Chief of the Gang Section Alberto López-Rocafort, Deputy Chief of the Gang Section, AUSA Teresa Zapata-Valladares, AUSA Joseph Russell, and Special AUSA Cristina Caraballo-Colón from the Puerto Rico Department of Justice are in charge of the prosecution of the case.
If convicted on the drug charges, the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years, and up to life in prison. If convicted of both the drug and firearms charges, the defendants face a minimum sentence of 15 years, and up to life in prison. All defendants are facing a narcotics forfeiture allegation of $24,888,000.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.