SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico correctional officers are among 29 suspects facing charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and bribery in a federal indictment unsealed on Thursday.
The suspects are members of what the U.S. Attorney’s Office called one of the oldest criminal enterprises in Puerto Rico, The group of 27, founded in 1980 to allegedly take control of prisons in the U.S. territory to generate money.
Authorities said the main revenue sources include drug trafficking and a tax the group allegedly levied when smuggling drugs including cocaine, heroin and fentanyl into prison. In addition, officials said the group would commit fraud and extortion by smuggling cellphones into prison and then making calls and threaten or lie to those outside to obtain money.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the group would kill and electrocute people to maintain control.