SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On September 15, 2022, a federal jury convicted Carlos J. Reyes-Rosario, aka “Carlitos El Mea,” of five counts of drug trafficking in the municipalities of Caguas, Cidra and Aguas Buenas , Porto Rico . He faces a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison.

Convict Reyes-Rosario was charged Dec. 8, 2017, along with 43 other defendants, with conspiracy to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, marihuana, Percocet and Xanax in Turabo Heights, Brisas del Turabo, Juan Jiménez-García, Práxedes Santiago, Jardines de Cidra and Vistas de Jagüeyes public housing projects and other areas near the municipalities of Caguas, Cidra and Aguas Buenas, PR.

Evidence at trial proved that Reyes-Rosario was a gang leader at the Jardines de Cidra social housing project. The gang’s territory spanned the greater Caguas region and was headed by federal fugitive Nelson Torres-Delgado, aka “El Burro”. The jury heard evidence that during the arrest and subsequent murder of a former gang leader in Jardines de Cidra, Torres-Delgado appointed Reyes-Rosario to a leadership position. Reyes-Rosario was the gang leader of Jardines de Cidra from late 2015 until the federal indictment.

Within Jardines de Cidra, armed drug dealers working under the direction of Reyes-Rosario sold heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and pills in broad daylight while residents, including families and children, led their lives. The United States presented evidence that this gang regularly carried firearms, including illegally modified automatic weapons. The gang engaged in violent turf wars to maintain control of drug sales in and around Caguas and their corresponding profits.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB), in particular the Caguas Strike Force, were in charge of the investigation, with the collaboration of the DEA and the US Marshals.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys for the Gang Section, Corinne Cordero and R. Vance Eaton.

The case was investigated by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OECDTF). This multi-agency task force investigates and dismantles major drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics as well as the gang violence generated by drug trafficking.

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