LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Steven Mocsary, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility, and Donald Balberchak, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General, announced today that Edwin Disla, 33, of Miami, Josue Cruz, 24, of New York, New York, and Ricardo Mejia-Martinez, 51, of the Dominican Republic, were indicted on April 17, 2007 by a federal grand jury sitting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (Count 1). In addition, defendants Disla and Cruz are charged substantively with attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 2 (Count 2). Defendants Disla and Mejia-Martinez are additionally charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 2 (Count 3).
According to the charging document, defendant Disla was employed as a Customs and Border Protection Officer assigned to the Miami International Airport. From January 2007 through March 28, 2007, in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, Disla allegedly offered to transport multi-kilogram amounts of heroin and cocaine from Puerto Rico to either New York or Miami. On February 9, 2007, Disla and Cruz transported ten kilograms of a substance that they believed to be cocaine to individuals in Miami, Florida. While transporting the sham cocaine, Disla used his law enforcement authority to bypass security both at the Luis Munoz Marin Airport in Puerto Rico and Miami International Airport. On March 28, 2007, Disla and defendant Mejia-Martinez were arrested in Puerto Rico, after having received duffel bags containing 25 kilograms of sham cocaine and 20 kilograms of sham heroin from undercover agents with the Puerto Rico Police Department assigned to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Task Force. Defendant Josue Cruz remains a fugitive.
If convicted of these charges, the defendants each face a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility, and Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General. The Puerto Rico Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also participated in the investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Clark of the Public Corruption Section.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.