Drugs. Criminal enterprises. Murder. Prison break. These words describe the life of Jose Figueroa-Agosto - Puerto Rico's modern day Pablo Escobar. Until today, Figueroa-Agosto served as the mastermind behind one of Puerto Rico's largest criminal enterprises. After murdering a man over a drug debt, Figueroa-Agosto was sentenced to 209 years in prison. He managed to escape and fled to the Dominican Republic. Over the last 11 years, he has managed one of the largest suppliers of illegal drugs to the United States from afar.
Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the take down of Figueroa-Agosto's drug trafficking operation.
"We are cutting the head off the snake and effectively dismantling his organization from the top down," said ICE Director John Morton.
Thirteen individuals were arrested for drug trafficking and money laundering. The arrests stem from an investigation conducted by ICE's Office Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
ICE HSI agents identified that Figueroa-Agosto and his counterparts were smuggling large amounts of drugs and cash between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in hidden compartments of recreational boats. ICE HSI agents seized nearly 1,187 kilograms of cocaine, seven kilograms of heroin and three vessels worth approximately $451,000 during the course of the investigation. ICE has also traced nearly $4.5 million of assets to Figueroa-Agosto's organization for forfeiture.
"Drug kingpins like Figueroa-Agosto should be on notice that we're watching - we're following the money and the contraband, and it will lead us right to you," said Morton.