Forty-four alleged members of a drug trafficking and money laundering organization were arrested Thursday in Puerto Rico after a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Puerto Rico Police Department, HSI announced in a recent release.
“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.”
Julio L. De Jesus-Gomez, Tania De Jesus-Gomez and Julia Gomez-Calcaño would conceal proceeds from their drug trafficking activities as legitimate income from the activities of Luquillo Boat Glass, the indictment said. The individuals would purchase real estate and various other assets while misrepresenting the source of the money.
Two of the individuals were also charged with tampering with a witness after they told an individual how to respond to law enforcement officers’ questions if they inquired about the real estate purchases, the indictment alleges.
The indictment also alleges that, as part of the conspiracy, some of the defendants used privately owned boats and boats from the Puerto Rico Maritime Transportation Authority to move multiple kilograms of cocaine and heroin to Puerto Rico.
More than half of the members of the drug trafficking organization face one count of using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.