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Three Alleged Drug Traffickers Indicted for Distribution in Montgomery County

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Gaithersburg, MD – Three alleged members of a drug trafficking organization based in Puerto Rico have been indicted in the District of Columbia, following an investigation into shipments of cocaine from San Juan for distribution in the Washington, D.C. area, including Montgomery County. On Thursday, May 26, 2022, the alleged leader of the organization was indicted in the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia. Two of the defendants face an additional charge stemming from a murder related to the drug trafficking that occurred in Puerto Rico.  

  

As detailed in a news release by the U.S. Attorney’s office, 39-year-old Rey Rivera Ruiz, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, the alleged leader was indicted on May 26, with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, one count of continuing criminal enterprise -- causing the intentional death of Shantay Butler, 44 -- and one count of causing the death through the use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense.  

  

In addition, 26-year-old Jann Jousten Aponte Rivera, and 20-year-old Michael Gabriel Hernandez Rivera, both of San Juan, Puerto Rico, were indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, one count of continuing criminal enterprise -- causing the intentional death of Shantay Butler-- and one count of causing the death through the use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense. 

 

According to the government’s evidence, Ruiz, assisted by Aponte River and Hernandez Rivera, and several other individuals, shipped between 50 and 150 kilograms of cocaine to a local drug trafficking organization operating in Montgomery and Frederick Counties between October 2019 and April of 2021. Once the cocaine arrived in the Washington D.C. area, local drug traffickers distributed it into the community.  

  

Ruiz Rivera, Aponte Rivera, and Hernandez Rivera have remained in custody since their April 2021 arrests.   

  

This investigation was a coordinated effort of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the Montgomery County Department of Police, Frederick Police Department, and the Puerto Rico Police Department’s Homicide Division under the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network (MCIN).  Governor Larry Hogan launched MCIN in 2017, and provides grant funding and strategic support through his office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services to MCIN member sites to identify, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations through inter-agency collaboration and data sharing to make Maryland safer. The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services funded this project under subaward number, MCIN-2022-0018. All points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of any Maryland State office or agency.  

 

For more details on this investigation, please see the Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, linked here:   

https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/pr/three-men-indicted-district-columbia-federal-charges-involving-drug-trafficking  

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Release ID: 22-305
Media Contact: CTDurham 
Categories: drug-investigation