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Latino Daily News

Thursday February 24, 2011

5 Puerto Ricans Charged with RICO Crimes Involving 21 Murders, Must Foreiture $46 Million in Gains

Five Puerto Rican defendants are charged in a 17-count indictment with: violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity, use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm with a prior conviction.

The defendants were members and associates of a criminal organization which engaged in narcotics distribution and acts of violence, including murder, in Puerto Rico. Between 1993 through October 2009, the defendants conducted the affairs of the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity involving narcotics trafficking, murder, and attempted murder.

The indictment details 21 murders committed and/or ordered by defendant Alexis Candelario-Santana, aka “Congo.” Candelario-Santana is also the alleged mastermind of the massacre which occurred on October 17, 2009, in the business establishment known as “La Tómbola” in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, where eight people were killed and over 20 injured. Candelario-Santana was previously charged in a complaint for firearms violations and arrested on December 15, 2009.

The other defendants are: Carmelo Rondón-Feliciano, aka “Omi,” Christian López-Lebrón, Wilfredo Candelario-Santana, aka “Coper,” and David Oquendo-Rivas, aka “Gordo.” Oquendo-Rivas is charged in counts two through 14 with violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity, including the murder of eight people during the La Tómbola Massacre. All defendants are facing a RICO forfeiture allegation for at least $46,720,000.

If convicted, Candelario-Santana and Oquendo-Rivas could face the death penalty.