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Source: US State of Wisconsin

Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced today that 26 defendants have been charged in federal court with trafficking at least five kilograms or more of cocaine as well as distributable quantities of heroin and fentanyl.  The defendants were also charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  If convicted, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life in prison.  According to the complaint, the defendants were part of a drug-trafficking organization that has been sending multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine through the U.S. Postal Service from Puerto Rico to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

On January 15, 2020, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested 22 of these defendants.  The officers also executed search warrants in both Milwaukee and Puerto Rico resulting in the seizure of approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine, at least 50 grams of heroin, at least 80 grams of crack cocaine, 35 firearms (25 handguns, 8 rifles, 1 fully automatic handgun, and 1 sawed off shotgun), and approximately $267,000 in U.S. currency.

United States Attorney Krueger said in announcing this takedown: “Our communities continue to suffer from an unprecedented drug epidemic that has taken far too many lives.  The drug trafficking organizations that fuel this epidemic for their own profit must be stopped and held accountable.  These arrests demonstrate the extraordinary commitment and partnership among all levels of law enforcement to pursue traffickers, wherever they are operate.” 

The defendants charged in this law enforcement action, called Operation Island Hopper, are:

Name

Age

Residence

Jose GONZALEZ-COLLADO

28

Milwaukee

Hector Yamil RODRIGUEZ-RODRIGUEZ

28

Milwaukee

Marcos APONTE-LEBRON

40

Milwaukee

Vladimir RODRIGUEZ-RODRIGUEZ

25

Milwaukee

Steven CORTES-IRIZARRY

38

Milwaukee

Kevin TORRES-BONILLA

29

Milwaukee

Andros MARTINEZ-PELLOT    

30

Milwaukee

Eric ROSA

32

Milwaukee

Kadeja LEWIS

29

Milwaukee

Yadier ROSARIO         

23

Milwaukee

Julio RIVERA-RAMIREZ

51

Milwaukee

Rafael RIVERA-QUINONES

34

Milwaukee

Ricardo BONILLA

48

Milwaukee

Jose BURGOS-RIVERA

42

Milwaukee

Jomar LABOY-SILVA   

27

Milwaukee

Enid MARTINEZ          

32

Milwaukee

Alexander MORALES-RIVERA

27

Milwaukee

Wilberto SANTIAGO-MARTINEZ        

38

Milwaukee

Julio SEDA-MARTINEZ

39

Milwaukee

Jose M. AVILES-GONZALEZ    

25

Milwaukee

David QUINONES-QUINONES

48

Puerto Rico

David Joel QUINONES-RIOS

29

Puerto Rico

Roberto ORENCH-FELICIANO

27

Puerto Rico

Carlos Omar CONCEPCION-RIVERA

31

Puerto Rico

Yashira Jehovalis CORTES-NIEVES

24

Puerto Rico

Keishla M. ORENCH-FELICIANO         

27

Puerto Rico

“This case shows the impact that intensive investigations targeting large-scale drug trafficking can have,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. “When local, state, and federal investigators work together, as they have in this case, we can disrupt the supply of narcotics to Wisconsin and help people avoid addiction. Thank you to the brave law enforcement professionals at DCI and other agencies who have worked on this case.”

 “The DEA is committed working with its local, state and federal law enforcement partners to keep the citizens of Milwaukee safe from drug trafficking and the violence that is always associated with it.  Today’s arrests shows the resolve of law enforcement to work together in order to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals who profit from the national drug epidemic,” said DEA Milwaukee District Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Paul E. Maxwell, Jr. 

Chicago Division Postal Inspector in Charge Bill Hedrick said, “The incredible partnerships between law enforcement agencies are imperative to protect the American public from illegal drug activity and the violence that goes along with it.  The criminal activity in this case was uncovered through the investigation of drug parcels by a well-trained Postal Inspector, and transformed into this multi-faceted investigation which led to the numerous arrests we have today.   Postal Inspectors work not only to remove drugs from the mail, but to investigate and arrest individuals, and disrupt drug trafficking across the United States.”  

“This investigation’s success is a direct result of the strong partnership between HSI and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners,” said Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons, HSI Chicago. “This close coordination between law enforcement agencies is essential to ensuring those allegedly involved in the illicit drug trade are brought to justice.”

ATF Special Agent in Charge Tim Jones said, “Protecting the American people from criminal organizations is a priority of the ATF.  Operations such as this are a great example of how law enforcement partnerships working in concert can help protect the public from criminal organizations and reduce violent crime.”

The defendants were charged based on a multi-year investigation led by law enforcement agents and officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the North Central High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Milwaukee Police Department, and the City of New Berlin Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Brady, Jr. and Assistant United States Attorney Gail Hoffman are prosecuting the case.

The public is cautioned that a criminal complaint is merely a charge and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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For Additional Information Contact:

Public Information Officer Kenneth Gales 414-297-1700

MIL OSI USA News