Twelve Individuals Indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Carjacking Resulting in Death and Civil Rights Violations
U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Puerto Rico
July 8, 2009
SAN JUAN, PR—Yesterday, a grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an eight-count indictment charging 12 individuals with conspiracy to commit a carjacking that resulted in death and conspiracy to violate civil rights. The events, which occurred from about April 2008 until May 2008, resulted in the death of Elis Manuel Andrades-Telleria, announced U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Vélez. The defendants were arrested today by FBI agents with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD).
Defendants Noel Rosario-Colón, aka “Nuni,” a former Sergeant with the Puerto Rico Police Department; Daniel Cruz-Andino, a Carolina Municipal Police Officer; and Osvaldo Hernández-Adorno, a Puerto Rico Police Officer, were arrested this morning along with the other nine defendants. This organization is allegedly headed by Geffrey Torres-Sobrado, aka “Geffrey El Arabe,” and his cousin Carlos Aponte-Sobrado. The indictment alleges that the defendants targeted Elis Manuel Andrades-Telleria, who they knew was transporting approximately 14 kilograms of cocaine in his vehicle, and staged a pretextual traffic stop to steal the contraband. The defendants were dressed in black tactical gear to give the impression they were federal agents and requested the assistance of Officer Osvaldo Hernández Adorno, who was at the scene of the arrest wearing his uniform and driving his marked police vehicle.
The indictment further charges that after arresting the victim, the defendants handcuffed him and took him to an auto body repair shop belonging to defendant Antonio Vélez Rodriguez. The defendants stole the load of narcotics (approximately 14 kilograms of cocaine) being transported by Andrades Telleria, and submitted him to further interrogation under the guise of a legal arrest. The indictment further alleges that defendants Noel Rosario Colón, José Vizcarrondo Casanova and Michael Joseph Arpaio went to the victim’s home and stole additional amounts of narcotics, monies, watches and a handgun. The victim was subsequently killed while still handcuffed and sitting inside the vehicle belonging to Officer Cruz-Andino. Defendant Cruz-Andino led the other co-defendants to a remote location in a rural road where they disposed of the body of Elis Manuel Andrades Telleria.
“The members of this violent gang impersonated law enforcement officers to perpetrate their crimes. Among them, there are two state law enforcement officers and a former sergeant. It is unfortunate that those called upon to protect the public and enforce the law got involved with other criminals, violated their oath of office and abused their position of trust,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate and prosecute corrupt officials who violate civil rights by misusing their badges, and we will strive to maintain the confidence of our citizens in our law enforcement officers.”
“The fight against violent crime becomes much more complicated when corrupt law enforcement officers are involved in these crimes,” said Luis Fraticelli, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office. “Corrupt law enforcement officers, whom I must say comprise a small percentage, must remember their oath of office, to protect and serve.”
The investigation was conducted by FBI agents in collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Antonio R. Bazán and Assistant U.S. Attorney José A. Contreras.
If convicted, defendants are exposed to life imprisonment and fines up to $250,000 per count. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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