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Contraband
10/05/2012

Operation Lighthouse nets 44 arrests for drug trafficking and money laundering

Operation Lighthouse nets 44 arrests for drug trafficking and money laundering
Operation Lighthouse nets 44 arrests for drug trafficking and money laundering
Operation Lighthouse nets 44 arrests for drug trafficking and money laundering
Operation Lighthouse nets 44 arrests for drug trafficking and money laundering
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Forty-four alleged members of a drug trafficking and money laundering organization were arrested Thursday in eastern Puerto Rico following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Puerto Rico Police Department.

"This case exemplifies that those involved in money laundering and the importation of narcotics and other contraband into and out of our country will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "HSI thanks our local, state and federal law enforcement partners for their significant cooperation in dismantling this narcotics and money laundering organization."

According to the indictment, Julio L. De Jesus-Gomez, Tania De Jesus-Gomez and Julia Gomez-Calcaño conspired to conceal and disguise drug trafficking proceeds as legitimate income from the activities of Luquillo Boat Glass Inc. These three individuals purchased real estate and other assets in their names, and in doing so, misrepresented the source of the money. For instance, they spent $75,000 to purchase land and $265,000 to purchase property in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Additionally, they issued a $10,000 check to a manager with their company.

The indictment also charges Tania De Jesus-Gomez and Julia Gomez-Calcaño with tampering with a witness. In an attempt to keep information related to a federal offense from law enforcement, the pair told an individual, known as N.M.G., how to respond to law enforcement officers if questioned about the purchase of real estate properties.

All the defendants named in the indictment are charged with a conspiracy to commit drug trafficking. As part of the conspiracy, some of the defendants used private vessels and vessels from the Puerto Rico Maritime Transportation Authority to smuggle multiple kilograms of cocaine and heroin to Puerto Rico via the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, Puerto Rico.

Twenty-three members of the drug trafficking organization face one count of using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

The defendants had many roles within the organization, which included three leaders, one manager, six drug point owners, four enforcers, one supplier, 10 runners, two drug processors and 24 distributors.

Those arrested include:

  • Julio De Jesus-Gomez,
  • Jose Santiago-Gomez,
  • Tania De Jesus-Gomez,
  • Julia Gomez- Calcaño,
  • Emanuel Moyano-Rodriguez,
  • Alex Gomez-Ramos,
  • Luis Suarez-Rivera,
  • Carlos Martinez-Rodriguez,
  • Ruben Mendoza-Bonano,
  • Luis Ross-De La Cruz,
  • Jose Avila-Jimenez,
  • Jose M. Perez-Lopez,
  • Miguel Velazquez-Rodriguez,
  • Hector Diaz-Madera,
  • Benito Santiago-De Jesus,
  • Pablo Ortiz-Calzada,
  • Javier Morales-Andreu,
  • Elizabeth Mejil-Negron,
  • Tahriy Montalvo-Diaz,
  • Elizabeth Santiago-De Jesus,
  • Jose Porfil-Diaz,
  • Luis Gomez-Ramos,
  • Fernando Fuertes-Robinson,
  • Alex Henry-Mathew,
  • Roberto Vega-Rivera,
  • Angel Martinez-Rodriguez,
  • Alberto Martinez-Rodriguez,
  • Roberto Morales-Rivera,
  • Luis Daniel Rivera-Perez,
  • Omar Quinones-Gonzalez,
  • Omar Camacho-Almestica,
  • Steven Burgos-Castro,
  • Domingo Pena-Rivera,
  • Abner Belardo-Colon,
  • Waleska Matta-Cuevas,
  • Jennifer Lugo-Matta,
  • Walter Coghen-Torres,
  • Rubencio Jaime-Cox,
  • Gilberto Trinidad-Ortiz,
  • Roselyn Santiago-De Jesus,
  • Ana Carrion-Cruz,
  • John Rivera-Cruz,
  • Luis Rodriguez-Guzman, and
  • Emilio Monge-Torres.

The following individuals remain at-large:

  • Jorge Rivera-Figueroa,
  • Edwin Monge-Pena,
  • Yamil Rios-Carrillo,
  • Carlos Matta-Pena,
  • Juan Luis Fuentes-Rivera,
  • Xavier Figueroa-Alvira,
  • Andy Garcia-Mathew,
  • Subriel Mathew-Mattias, and
  • Armando Gomez-Ortiz.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected weapons and narcotics smuggling by calling 1-866-DHS-2ICE or visiting www.ICE.gov/tips.