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Dear Alexis:

Puerto Rico has become a narco-island for more than 20 years, each time being extreme violence and, to some extent, "cartels" against another person. This most painful expression can be committed between human beings. In the middle of 2023, the Puerto Rico Government continued to deny the reality that we are a narco-island and based its public policy strategies against crime on the famous and failed "Mano dura,"; that as I pointed out in a publication of March 8, 2023; The iron fist or the war on drugs is a lost business of more than 30 years; But here we continue to use as a persuasive that the federal jurisdiction does the work that the state jurisdiction has ceded to it through the federalization of the Puerto Rican criminal justice system.

I make this statement to begin a dialogue about an individual who used his violent intelligence to carry out one of the largest massacres in Puerto Rico about the number of dead, wounded, and perimeter expansion investigated on the day of the events and the subsequent days. Still, the federal jurisdiction was in charge of criminally prosecuting the individual today known as Alexis Candelario Santana, known as Congo, Alexis el del Palo de Goma, and the Tómbola Massacre.

The federal authorities were responsible for building a solid case against Candelario Santana, utilizing one of the most punitive laws in the federal system: the RICO Act. The RICO Act is designed to combat organized crime.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) of 1970 seeks to strengthen the legal tools in evidence gathering by establishing new penal prohibitions and providing enhanced sanctions and new remedies for dealing with the unlawful activities of those engaged in organized crime. RICO is made up of 35 felonies.

Alexis was born in 1972. He had a lonely upbringing and was absent of a leadership figure, raised in an area of high crime incidence, where violence was the norm of his life with his ten siblings and his mother. These lived in a wooden house with a dirt floors, and all slept in a single bed that had their home. He stopped attending school, and neither the school nor the state cared about his absence. His childhood days were spent on the rubber stick in the plot where he grew up. But that same stick served as an entrance to the drug point of his neighborhood since the 80s.

His intelligence and business skills were channeled through criminal activity since 1991, when in Puerto Rico, they were already beginning to hear names of notorious criminals and drug traffickers such as Gamalier Cruz Cariño, Jorge J. Solano Moreta, Orlando Serrano Ramos, Fernando Montañez Bultrón, among others;

that in the next publications, we will be talking about these and other characters in history that have structured since the 80s, organized crime in Puerto Rico and drug trafficking, being the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico labeled by the White House as HIDTA/HIFTA jurisdictions.

Returning to Candelario Santana, it was in 1996 that he established his criminal organization trafficking marijuana, cocaine, and crack, among other drugs. With his right hand at that time, Braulio "Menor" Rodríguez, both formed the bargain called "Palo de Goma." He also owned the drug point "Los Bravos" for more than ten years. Later Candelario Santana expanded his organization to Michigan, leaving Puerto Rico in charge. Carmelo Rondón Feliciano and Candelario Santana's cousin, Wilfredo Semprit Santana, better known as Rufo.

In 2003, Candelario Santana was arrested by the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico and served a brief stay in one of our 5-star penal institutions in Puerto Rico. Candelario Santana accepted a plea deal for 12 murders for a 12-year sentence. It should be recalled that although the Criminal Code of Puerto Rico has been repealed on several occasions in its last term, murder in the first degree continues to be a crime with a fixed penalty of 99 years of imprisonment. In 2009, Candelario Santana was released due to his good behavior, So once he got out of jail, he returned to the neighborhood to resume his business.

This massacre occurred on October 17, 2009, on Progreso Street in the Sabana Seca neighborhood in Toa Baja during the inauguration of the Bar La Tómbola Business. Around 11:45 pm, there were more than 100 people in the business, some individuals including Candelario Santana arrived and opened excessive fire against the people present in the place, leaving nine people dead: José Hernández Martínez, Juan Class Guzmán, Pedro Semprit Santana, Elisabeth Ocasio, Samuel Ruiz Martínez, Rafael Ramos Rivera, the singer Tina Mary Rodríguez Otero and the eight-month-old baby Aneyska Ríos García. In addition, about 20 people were wounded, and a wide scene where more than 500 shells of different calibers of pistols and high-powered rifles were collected. According to the investigation of this scene, Candelario Santana committed the acts in revenge for having taken away the leadership and control of the drug point.

Returning to these facts, Candelario Santana became the number one of the most wanted, being arrested on the night of November 9, 2009, near the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico, trying to illegally enter the island of St Thomas by the United States Coast Guard.

The criminal prosecution of Candelario Santana took place in the federal jurisdiction of Puerto Rico with David Oquendo Rivas in March 2013. In the case of Candelaria Santana, he was convicted of 40 counts of various crimes, all committed during the massacre of La Tómbola. Candelario Santana was eligible for the death penalty. Still, on March 23, 2013, a judge reviewed the death penalty petition, but failing to reach unanimity in the vote, he was released from the death penalty but taken to serve life in prison for the crimes.

However, Candelario Santana began an appeal process in the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit since he alleged that his constitutional rights were violated by not having a public trial, and a judge granted one of the witnesses to testify without the general being present since this witness feared for his life. On August 18, 2016, the court overturned the conviction and sentence and granted him the opportunity for a new trial under the same indictment for which he was previously prosecuted.

On June 21, 2023, the new trial against Candelario Santana began, recalling the pain and process for victims more than 14 years ago from the last time Alexis pulled the trigger and the victims took their last breath of air, including the baby inside the womb of a woman who could never see the light of nature. The trial in charge of Judge Francisco Besosa and by a jury of 7 men and five women will have the important decision to determine the guilt or not of Candelario Santana. It should be noted that the charges to be processed in this new trial will be the same as the first time, highlighting the first charge of organized crime.

So the trial begins the turn of the prosecution and begins by highlighting the violent qualities of Candelario Santana, describing him as a violent man in search of power, money, and control; The latter was his main tool using it with violence to impart order and respect within the drug and drug trafficking business. Due to his leadership skills, as I initially mentioned, his violent intelligence, and his entrepreneur, already inside the prison, he continued to receive the dividends of the proceeds of the sales of his business.

If you remember his cousin, who we initially mentioned as the person left in charge of Candelario Santana's business when he served state prison, he stopped sending the rent money to Candelario Santana and opened his business, La Tómbola.

The first witness Braulio Ortiz Ramírez, Menor, was Candelario Santana's right-hand man in the criminal organization and received direct orders from Candelario Santana. He said he received orders from Candelario Santana that he did not want any drug points in his area other than Candelario Santana's. As part of the drug trafficking business, he ordered the assassinations of his enemies in the industry for Candelario Santana to establish his unique presence in drug trafficking.

However, and to some extent inconceivable, this second trial is taking place at the same time as a carjacking case against Felix Verdejo, accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend; And therefore, all the news reporters of different platforms and their companies have focused the attention of this case, leaving the victims and their relatives who are again reliving the tombola massacre to silence of not knowing what exactly is past; since after the 1st day of trial no media published anything about the process that is being carried out; only that on July 12, 2023, the prosecution culminated in the presentation of its evidence with the production of around 30 witnesses; And in turn, the defense again submitted a request for peremptory acquittal alleging that the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence to prove its case.

I do not have much more to say about this individual, only that he represents the narco-state in which we live, how from an early age his intelligence took a wrong course, the government nor his family took care of it, and towards that horizon is that we continue to fill the prisons with human beings and the earth with corpses, When the government understands, If you ever understand that drug trafficking is not a matter of rich and poor, intelligent and brute but an economic and social issue, then if we can talk about a more intelligent public policy to attend to our narco-state.

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