ICE nabs jet-fueled camaro and other classic cars worth $2.2 million
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized 15 luxury watches with an approximate market value of $1 million and 16 classic and collection cars, with an approximate value of $2.2 million on June 7, 2011, from members of the Jose Figueroa-Agosto – aka Junior Capsula – drug trafficking organization.
Among the items seized is a Roger Dubois watch with an estimated value of $100,000 and a special edition Camaro with an engine that runs on jet fuel, valued at more than $75,000.
“These seizures are proof that ICE HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) will continue to aggressively go after those organizations dedicated to the importation of drugs into Puerto Rico as well as their assets,” said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Puerto Rico.
Jose Figueroa Agosto, 46, the leader of the largest drug trafficking organization in the Caribbean, and 12 other members of his organization were arrested by ICE HSI agents on Nov. 21, 2010.
The group was charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy to import narcotics into the United States, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and money laundering. The indictment also seeks to forfeit money obtained as a result of drug trafficking, up to an amount of $100 million.
According to the indictment, from 2005, the defendants conspired to import multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine into Puerto Rico from places outside of the United States, mainly the Dominican Republic.
It is alleged that the co-conspirators would smuggle hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic in private luxury vessels. The narcotics would be distributed in Puerto Rico and the continental United States, and part of the drug proceeds would also be smuggle from Puerto Rico back to the Dominican Republic.
Members of Junior Capsula’s organization would attempt to legitimize their narcotic proceeds by purchasing assets through the use of “straw owners” or “jockeys.”
The defendants would purchase assets, use nominee bank accounts to deposit narcotics proceeds and make payments for services with cash and money orders. This would conceal the true ownership of the assets, source of the funds and avoid tracing by financial institutions and authorities.
If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life with fines of up to $4 million. Figueroa-Agosto is facing a mandatory life sentence if found guilty of the continuing criminal enterprise charge.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.