SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On September 22, 2021, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a four-count indictment charging Israel Hernández with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The United States Postal Inspection Service was in charge of the investigation of the case.
According to the indictment, from on or about 2017 and continuing up to August 11, 2021, in Puerto Rico and California, the defendant conspired and agreed with others to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute and distribute fentanyl, heroin, and marihuana. Members of this conspiracy acquired kilograms of fentanyl, heroin, and marihuana in California and concealed them in U.S. Postal parcels. Then they deposited these parcels into the mail and sent them to Puerto Rico. Similarly, members of the conspiracy mailed bulk cash proceeds from Puerto Rico back to California.
“Fentanyl is turning up on our streets in increasing quantities. It is also mixed with other substances, oftentimes without the knowledge of the end users of the drugs and with fatal results,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “Federal law provides for particularly severe consequences when illegal drug trafficking results in death and we will aggressively prosecute those who traffic in these deadly drugs.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to identifying and removing dangerous substances from the mail stream to ensure the safety of our employees and the community,” said Inspector in Charge Carroll Harris of the Los Angeles Division. “This indictment demonstrates our commitment to disrupt these criminal organizations and deliver consequences for the devastation they cause across our nation.”
If convicted, Hernández faces up to life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Vance Eaton from the U.S Postal Inspection Service is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.