Raid targets Puerto Rico public housing drug gang
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents swept through three public housing complexes in western Puerto Rico on Monday to arrest members of what authorities describe as a violent drug dealing organization.
Authorities initially arrested nearly 20 of 48 suspects suspected of controlling the drug trade in the housing complexes in the western city of Mayaguez, said Israel Alicea, the assistant special agent in charge of the Caribbean division of the DEA.
Another dozen of the suspects were already in custody for other offenses and the rest were being sought, including three believed to be in the mainland United States, Alicea said.
All of the suspects, including four men alleged to be the leaders, face charges that include possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and face from 10 years to life in prison. Several also face weapons charges, he said.
Police in Mayaguez suspect members of the gang are involved in at least six unsolved homicides and Alicea said authorities hope the crackdown will result in arrests in those cases.
The organization has controlled the drug trade in the three adjacent complexes since 2010, replacing an organization previously dismantled by the DEA and local police.