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Contraband
04/27/2011

Puerto Rican drug lord and his brother convicted of drug trafficking

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Angel Ayala-Vazquez, aka Angelo Millones, and his brother Luis X. Cruz-Vazquez, aka El Mono, were found guilty Tuesday of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack, cocaine, marijuana, Percocet, and Xanax, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Puerto Rico Police Department.

For the past 15 years, Ayala-Vázquez was the notorious leader of a violent and pervasive drug trafficking organization. This organization was responsible for the importation of thousands of kilograms of narcotics into Puerto Rico, the transshipment of narcotics from Puerto Rico to several eastern seaboard states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, the distribution of kilogram quantities of narcotics to other drug trafficking organizations operating in Puerto Rico, and the street level distribution of narcotics within the José Celso Barbosa and Sierra Linda public housing projects in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.

Members of this drug trafficking organization, under the leadership of Ayala-Vázquez, employed violence and even murder to maintain control of their drug trafficking activities, and to eliminate rival organizations. Ayala-Vázquez allowed other members of the drug trafficking organization to control the street level sale of the narcotics within other public housing projects and throughout Puerto Rico, as long as the narcotics had been purchased from him.

Luis X. Cruz-Vázquez, Ayala-Vázquez's brother, was an administrator and tasked with supervising the day-to-day operations of the various narcotics distribution points within Barbosa and Sierra Linda housing projects, and other locations throughout Puerto Rico.

The indictment contained forfeiture allegations for $100 million money judgment. The defendants and their co-conspirators disguised the true nature of their narcotics proceeds by laundering their profits through the purchase of various luxury items, including real estate properties, race cars, motor vehicles, vessels and businesses, through the use of "straw owners."

"This investigation highlights the cooperation of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies working together to bring to justice those criminal organizations in Puerto Rico," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Puerto Rico. "The public expects law enforcement to work together, which is exactly what we will continue to do in order to identify arrest and prosecute those responsible from contaminating our communities with illegal drugs."

"This conviction sends a clear message that the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Puerto Rico will aggressively prosecute violent drug trafficking organizations who undermine the quality of life in Puerto Rico, and intimidate and hold communities hostage through their indiscriminate use of violence," said U.S. Attorney Rodríguez-Vélez.

Senior U.S. District Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez scheduled the sentencing for Aug. 8.