Authorities arrest dozens in alleged $65M drug-trafficking ring

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hundreds of police and federal agents raided a public housing complex yesterday and arrested more than three dozen people allegedly involved in selling an estimated $65 million worth of drugs.

Authorities rounded up 39 of the 70 suspects being sought for being in a gang that sold heroin, crack, cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs to people in the northern coastal city of Carolina and nearby areas, police said. US Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said the suspects kept two apartments known as “the freezers” — one to prepare drugs and store weapons and the other to relax, watch TV and play video games.

The gang allegedly has been in operation since 2002 and includes runners, lookouts and enforcers who would also kidnap and beat up their own members to keep control of the organisation.  The suspects took over the ring once led by drug kingpin Jose Lopez Rosario, who allegedly controlled the drug trade in the US island’s northeastern region up until he was shot to death in July 2006.

Charges against the suspects carry penalties ranging from 10 years to life in prison.

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