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Sixteen Puerto Rico ex-cops ran a robbery, extortion, bribery and drugs gang

Sixteen former Puerto Rico police officers pleaded guilty Monday to running a criminal organization out of the police department.  

They used their positions on the police force “to commit robbery and extortion, to manipulate court records in exchange for bribes, and to sell illegal narcotics,” the DOJ said.

The defendants coordinated traffic stops and raided the homes of suspected criminals to “steal money, property, and drugs for their own personal enrichment,” the DOJ said.  

They made false arrests based on planted evidence and extorted money to release the victims from custody.

The DOJ said,

Additionally, in exchange for bribe payments, the officers gave false testimony, manipulated court records, and failed to appear in court when required so that criminal cases would be wrongfully dismissed.  

The ex-officers also sold “wholesale” amounts of illegal drugs.

They filed phony reports to make it look like they were doing legitimate police work, the DOJ said.

Thirteen defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act: 

Osvaldo Vazquez-Ruiz, 38

Orlando Sierra-Pereira, 37

Danny Nieves-Rivera, 35

Roberto Ortiz-Cintron, 35

Yovanny Crespo-Candelria, 34

Jose Sanchez-Santiago, 32

Miguel Perez-Rivera, 35

Nadab Arroyo-Rosa, 33

Jose Flores-Villalongo, 52

Luis Suarez-Sanchez, 36

Eduardo Montañez-Perez, 29

Carlos Laureano-Cruz, 40, and

Carlos Candelario-Santiago, 47.  

Three defendants, Ruben Casiano-Pietri, 36, Christian Valles-Collazo, 28, and Ricardo Rivera Rodriguez, 39, pleaded guilty to robbery and extortion charges.  

Several of the defendants also pleaded guilty to charges of using their police-issued firearms while committing their crimes, the DOJ said.  

Two defendants were sergeants with the Police of Puerto Rico (POPR) — Flores-Villalongo and Candelario-Santiago — and the others were patrolmen.

Sentencing hearings are scheduled for December 2014.

The DOJ’s August 25, 2014 release is here.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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