SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) arrested 28 individuals Thursday for drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms. The investigation, dubbed “Operation G-Zone,” centered on drug trafficking activity in the José N. Gándara and Hogares de Portugués public housing projects in the municipality of Ponce.
The indictment alleges that since 2013, the drug trafficking organization distributed heroin, crack, cocaine, and marijuana, within the two public housing projects and other areas in the southern part of Puerto Rico, all for financial gain and profit.
Those arrested acted as leaders, drug point owners, enforcers, runners, and sellers. The indictment also charged 16 defendants with possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Assistant U.S. Attorney María L. Montañez-Concepción is overseeing the prosecution of the case. If convicted the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison.
This case is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program operates nationwide and combines the resources and unique expertise of numerous federal agencies in a coordinated attack against major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.