SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Ten alleged members of a drug trafficking organization were arrested Friday as a result of a law enforcement operation dubbed "Waterfront," a joint investigation led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
"This case exemplifies that those involved in the importation of narcotics and other contraband into and out of our country will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted," said Angel M. Melendez, 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 drug trafficking organization."
According to court documents, the individuals arrested conspired and coordinated the purchase of kilogram quantities of cocaine and heroin from sources in Colombia and Dominican Republic. The drugs were placed inside containerized cargo vessels that were scheduled to arrive in the seaport in San Juan. Once in Puerto Rico, longshoremen and other individuals working for private companies used their employment credentials and privileges to gain access inside the containerized cargo vessels and secure areas inside the seaport to retrieve the controlled substances and deliver them to others waiting outside the seaport. Some of the drugs smuggled were distributed in Puerto Rico and some were further transported to the continental United States for eventual resale.
The following individuals were arrested:
- Jose E. Gonzalez-Santiago
- Jesus Negron-Rossy
- Noralbert Martinez-Lopez
- Sergio Ferrer-Rivera
- Jose A. Ortiz-Soto
- Nestor Prestamo-Torres
- Rawel Encarnacion-Cleto
- Carlos E. Acosta
- Jose Israel Ruiz-Caceres
- Rodney Caceres-Valentin
The arrest of these individuals is the result of an HSI-led investigation assigned to the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative to identify, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations that seek to exploit vulnerabilities along United States borders, in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected weapons and narcotics smuggling and related information by calling at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. For more information, visit www.ice.gov.