Two Leaders Of Violent Drug Cartel Sentenced To Life And 50 Years In Prison

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that JULIO MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO, a/k/a “Chino,” was sentenced to life in prison, and LUIS BLONDET was sentenced to 50 years in prison, each for their leading roles in a brutal drug cartel that is responsible for dozens of murders, the bribery of corrupt police officers in Puerto Rico, and the distribution of thousands of kilograms of cocaine in New York, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere.  In April 2022, a jury convicted MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO and BLONDET of racketeering and murder-related charges after a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman, who sentenced MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO yesterday and BLONDET earlier today.  

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “For years, Julio Marquez Alejandro and Luis Blondet repeatedly resorted to heinous murder for their own benefit.  Dozens of people died as a result of the reign of terror their organization carried out.  But this Office is committed to seeking justice for otherwise forgotten victims, no matter how long it takes.  Thanks to outstanding work from our law enforcement partners, Marquez Alejandro and Blondet will rightly spend decades in prison.”

According to the evidence at trial and other filings in the case:

MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO was one of the founding fathers of “La Organizacion de Narcotraficantes Unidos,” or “La ONU,” a criminal enterprise whose members and associates engaged in, from in or about 2004 to in or about 2016, dozens of murders, the bribery of corrupt police officers in Puerto Rico, and the distribution of thousands of kilograms of cocaine, including the shipment of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York.  Cocaine supplied by La ONU was distributed in New York City, including out of a children’s daycare center in the Bronx.  BLONDET was also a member and leader of La ONU and one of MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO’s closest allies.

The evidence at trial established that MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO personally ordered, authorized, or otherwise helped facilitate the murders of at least 15 people to maintain or expand his power and profits.  The evidence also showed that BLONDET personally participated in or helped facilitate the murders of seven people.  For example:

On or about April 9, 2005, BLONDET murdered Crystal Martinez Ramirez at a party in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  After Martinez Ramirez refused BLONDET’s sexual advances, BLONDET shot Martinez Ramirez in the head twice and dumped her body on a street corner.

On or about December 28, 2006, Israel Crespo Cotto was murdered on the orders of MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO because Crespo Cotto was believed to be cooperating with law enforcement.  MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO’s assassins killed Crespo Cotto, a double amputee, while he was sitting in his wheelchair in the Manuel A. Perez public housing projects in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Crespo Cotto was shot 24 times.

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On or about May 9, 2007, members of La ONU, including MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO, hired corrupt Puerto Rico police officers to participate in the murder of Anthony Castro Carrillo in Carolina, Puerto Rico, in exchange for a cash bonus.  Members of La ONU and two corrupt cops stormed Castro Carrillo’s residence while dressed as police officers and shot and killed him.

MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO, BLONDET, and other members of La ONU arranged for the murder of Hommysan Cariño Bruno, a leader of a rival drug organization, paying a driver to kill Cariño Bruno and providing the murder weapon.  Cariño Bruno was shot and killed while inside a van on or about April 29, 2008, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

On or about March 20, 2009, Carlos Barbosa was murdered on the orders of MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO because Barbosa was believed to be plotting to seize power from MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO.  Barbosa was shot over a dozen times while getting his hair cut at a barbershop in Levittown, Puerto Rico.

On or about November 27, 2009, Emanuel Correa Romero, a/k/a “Oreo,” was murdered on the orders of MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO.  Members of La ONU beat Correa Romero until he appeared dead.  After the assault, members of La ONU placed Correa Romero’s body into a suitcase and later reported back that they shot the suitcase dozens of times and then lit it on fire.

At the sentencing of MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO, Judge Furman emphasized MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO’s “stunning disrespect for the value of other human life” and “the scale of human suffering for which he is responsible.”       

When sentencing BLONDET, Judge Furman underscored that BLONDET’s murder of Crystal Martinez Ramirez was “grotesque and inhumane.”

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In addition to their prison terms, MARQUEZ ALEJANDRO, 52, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and BLONDET, 48, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, were ordered to forfeit $11.52 million and $212,000, as proceeds of their crimes, respectively.

Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamie E. Bagliebter, Peter J. Davis, Jacob R. Fiddelman, and Justin V. Rodriguez are in charge of the prosecution and represented the Government at trial with the assistance of Paralegal Specialists William Coleman and Christopher Sykes.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jordan Estes, Andrew Thomas, Lara Pomerantz, Allison Nichols, and Dina McLeod also participated in the investigation and prosecution of the case.