$72 million worth of drugs seized during operation in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CMC) – More than 60 alleged gang members were charged and more than $72 million in drugs were seized in an operation in Puerto Rico on Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment on April 24 charging 62 gang members with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, possession and distribution of a controlled substance, and firearms violations .

“Thanks to the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI, the US Marshals Service (USMS) and our state and local partners, more than 60 alleged gang members Charges have been filed and more than $72 million in drugs have been seized in this operation,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

“The residents of public housing projects deserve better than to be terrorized by violent drug gangs, and the Department of Justice will be relentless in our efforts to dismantle the gangs that fuel violent crime and profit from the poisoning of our communities,” he added.

U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow for the District of Puerto Rico said, “The arrests in this case underscore the determination of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners to uphold the rule of law and bring violent criminals who threaten our communities to justice.

“The Department of Justice remains steadfast in its commitment to dismantle criminal organizations, hold gang members accountable and pursue justice for victims,” he added.

According to the DOJ, the indictment alleges that from 2014 to present, the defendants operated as part of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that distributed illegal drugs for significant financial gain and profit – including cocaine base (commonly known as crack), heroin, cocaine, marijuana , Oxycodone (commonly known as Percocet), Alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax), Clonazepam (commonly known as Klonopin), and Tramadol.

If convicted on drug trafficking charges, the suspects face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, the DOJ said.