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7 accused in $1.2M extortion scheme at Puerto Rico Docks

7 accused in $1.2M extortion scheme at Puerto Rico Docks

San Juan, Aug 15 (Prensa Latina) FBI agents on Monday arrested seven people, including the Leader of the International Longshoremen Association (ILA) Carlos Sánchez-Ortiz and various dock workers accused in a $1.2 million extortion scheme that targeted shipping companies.
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U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow said the scheme began in 2005 and affected local and foreign commerce, including shipping between Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

He said suspects at three docks in the capital of San Juan are accused of illegally extorting small shipping companies and threatened to stop loading and unloading goods if a monthly fee wasn’t paid. The fee demanded varied by weight and sometimes ranged from $10,000 to $20,000 a month, Muldrow said.

The suspects face charges including conspiracy to violate the RICO Act, commit extortion and money laundering.

The indictment also includes Sanchez-Ortiz, Pedro Pastrana Gonzalez, Iara Clemente Rivera, Jorge Batista Maldonado, Victor Torres Barrosom, Jose Fernandez Cruz and Carlos Hernandez Laguer.

According to Muldrow, suspects conspired to extort shipping companies, by calling them to pay merchandise loading-unloading fees at piers 9, 10 and 11 in San Juan, under threat of protests and strikes by the ILA union.

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