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  • Arial view of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    Arial view of San Juan, Puerto Rico. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Published 1 March 2019

The group, known as Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Cantera (Las FARC), has been linked to over a dozen killings and is known for feeding the remains of their victims to pet reptiles. 

In Puerto Rico, a three-year investigation into a notorious drug trafficking ring has resulted in the indictment of 75 suspects for conspiracy to smuggle and distribute an enormous amount of narcotics on both the island and the United States mainland. 

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The group, known as Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Cantera (Las FARC) has been linked to over a dozen killings and is known for feeding the remains of their victims to pet reptiles. "We learned that they would throw their victims, and the bodies of those they had murdered, to their caiman," U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said in a press conference. The drug ring originally called themselves "Operation Crocodile."

Las FARC's violence was directed at both rival gangs and individuals within their own circle “in order to intimidate and maintain control of the drug trafficking activities.”

The distribution of crack, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone and alprazolam through housing projects, located in Santurce of San Juan, allowed the group to amass close to US$76 million, as well as luxury assets, in about 13 years of operation.

The legitimate assets reportedly include real estate, businesses, vehicles and designer apparel. The drug money also allegedly funded vacations, hotel and private events for several of its members. 

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Las FARC uses "force, threats, violence, and intimidation" in order to maintain all of Santurce district's drug trafficking activities under their complete control.

Alleged kingpin Emmanuel Pacheco-Marin was arrested Wednesday. His partner Vladimir Natera-Abreu, arrested last month on murder charges, is currently in police custody in the Dominican Republic. Fifteen of those indicted were also already in custody for separate crimes, and as of Monday, 32 of the 75 suspects had been arrested. The list of suspects includes every level of operations, from “drug point owners, runners, suppliers, enforcers, drug processors, sellers to facilitators.”

A conviction would mean a minimum of 10 years to life in prison for suspects, and the seizure of US$75,947,040 and four real estate properties. The investigation was carried out by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Puerto Rico Police Department and the San Juan Strike Force. 

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