US cracks down on Caribbean drug trafficking ring
Jul. 22, 2014
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Ten suspected members of a multimillion-dollar drug trafficking ring that distributed huge amounts of cocaine throughout Puerto Rico and on the U.S. mainland have been indicted, authorities said Tuesday.
The indictment charges members of the group with generating some $127 million in revenue by trafficking Colombian cocaine from the Dutch Caribbean territory of St. Maarten by boat and plane for almost a decade. Nine of them are in custody.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said some of the suspects also laundered $1.2 million through Puerto Rico's lottery system with help from a person who would offer them winning lottery tickets before they were claimed. Officials said some suspects are accused of claiming to have won the lottery more than 27 times.
The group also is accused of conspiring to transport more than $12 million in cash from Puerto Rico to St. Maarten, which shares an island with the French Caribbean territory of St. Martin.
Among the suspects arrested Tuesday was Javier Carrillo, who is described by U.S. authorities as a high-ranking drug supplier in the Caribbean. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.
The suspects had several nicknames, with Carrillo known as "Pretty Eyes" and other suspects known as "Ugly" and "Fatty."
In 2012, federal authorities arrested an additional 22 people as part of the same investigation, which is being led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Officials said it is continuing.