Two Former Puerto Rico Law Enforcement Officers Sentenced for Scheme to Smuggle Heroin to Inmates

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A former state marshal and a correctional officer in Puerto Rico were sentenced today for attempting to smuggle heroin to inmates in exchange for payment, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico.

Joel Torres-Velazquez, 49, of Guánica, Puerto Rico, was sentenced to serve 37 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, by U.S. District Judge Francisco A. Besosa of the District of Puerto Rico.

  He pleaded guilty on Nov. 6, 2013, to a one-count indictment charging him with attempt to distribute a controlled substance.

Jessica Moreno-Alicea, 39, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, was sentenced to serve 37 months in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, by U.S. District Judge Daniel R. Dominguez of the District of Puerto Rico.

  She pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2013, to a one-count indictment charging her with attempt to distribute a controlled substance.

Torres-Velazquez was paid $600 to deliver a package of heroin to an inmate at the Ponce Superior Court, where Torres-Velazquez worked as a state marshal.

  On March 30, 2011, Torres-Velazquez met with an undercover agent, who he believed was a drug dealer, and was given what he believed to be a package of heroin.

  He delivered the purported heroin to an inmate in the courthouse that same day.

Moreno was paid $800 to deliver a package of heroin to an inmate at the Ponce State Penitentiary, where Moreno worked as a correctional officer.

  On Feb. 3, 2011, Moreno met with an undercover agent, who she believed was a drug dealer, and was given what she believed to be heroin.

  She delivered the purported heroin to an inmate in the prison on Feb. 8, 2011.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s San Juan Division.   The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hector Ramirez-Carbó of the District of Puerto Rico and Trial Attorney Menaka Kalaskar of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.

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