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Federal indictment charges 44 members of drug trafficking network in Puerto Rico and Florida

July 31, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Federal indictment charges 44 members of drug trafficking network in Puerto Rico and Florida

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A joint operation involving the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), along with other federal and local law enforcement agencies, resulted in the arrests of dozens of suspects charged in a drug trafficking indictment earlier this week in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Florida.

Agents launched simultaneous raids on Wednesday arresting 44 people in Kissimmee, Florida and the municipality of Mayagüez as part of an operation dubbed ‘8 Ball.’

In a press release, federal officials said the co-conspirators named in the criminal indictment stand accused of operating a major drug trafficking and distribution network.

Members of the drug trafficking network are charged with knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute marijuana, Percocet, Xanax, cocaine, crack and marijuana were also found within 1,000 feet of the property comprising the Columbus Landing Public Housing Project.

The indictment also charges members of the conspiracy with firearms violations and money laundering.

According to the indictment, since 2010, the network established drug distribution points at several housing projects in the municipality of Mayagüez.

Officials said the 44 co-conspirators each played a different role in the drug trafficking conspiracy such as suppliers, drug point owners, runners, sellers, and facilitators.

Additionally, the indictment accuses the co-conspirators of routinely using firearms to protect themselves and the drug trafficking organization from rival gangs.

Twenty-two of the defendants each face one count of using-and-carrying firearms in the commission of a drug trafficking crime, according to the statement.

The narcotics violation carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, 20 years for the money laundering violations and a maximum of ten years for possessing a firearm.

“This case exemplifies that those involved in the distribution of narcotics and other contraband will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. HSI thanks our federal and local federal law enforcement partners for their significant cooperation in dismantling this drug trafficking organization,” said Ricardo Mayoral, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan.”

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