News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Will Taylor
Number: 312-886-2597

Alleged Illinois Marijuana Trafficking Ring Targeted
12 Arrested and Charged in Seven-Month Investigation

MAY 25 -- (Wheaton, Illinois) DuPage County States Attorney Joe Birkett and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Friday May 21, 2010 that 12 individuals are facing drug charges as the result of a long-term investigation by their offices in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the DuPage County Metropolitan Enforcement Group (DuMeg) and several local law enforcement agencies. Dubbed “Operation Chicago Haze,” the efforts additionally resulted in the seizure of approximately $1 million, 11 vehicles and five weapons.

It is alleged that Dorian Luzaj is the leader of a drug ring with ties to California that is responsible for the distribution of more than 600 pounds of cannabis per month from California and Canada to other cannabis dealers throughout the Chicago area. The following individuals appeared in DuPage County Bond Court on May 21, 2010 after State charges were filed in the joint State and Federal investigation:

  • Dorian Luzaj – Cannabis Trafficking, Class X Felony
  • Konstantinos A. Koutelidakis – Conspiracy (Cannabis Trafficking), Class 1 Felony; Money Laundering in Excess of $100,000, Class 1 Felony
  • Przemyslaw Raczynski – Cannabis Trafficking, Class X Felony
  • Bujar Toshkezi – Cannabis Trafficking, Class X Felony
  • Stephany Ortiz – Cannabis Trafficking, Class X Felony
  • Imer Xhaferi – Attempted Cannabis Trafficking, Class 1 Felony
  • Jacek Pelc – Cannabis Trafficking, Class X Felony; Conspiracy (Cannabis Trafficking), Class 1 Felony
  • Daniel Awkermen – Cannabis Trafficking, Class X Felony; Conspiracy (Cannabis Trafficking), Class 1 Felony
  • Lirim Luzaj – Cannabis Trafficking, Class X Felony; Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Deliver more than 5,000 grams, Class X Felony
  • William Giraldo – Attempt Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Deliver more than 5,000 grams, Class X Felony
  • Eric Alcantara – Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Deliver more than 5,000 grams, Class X Felony
  • Sayed Hakim Hashemi – Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Deliver more than 500 grams but less than 2,000 grams, Class 2 Felony

A Class X Felony is punishable by 12 to 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), a Class 1 Felony is punishable by four to 15 years in the IDOC, while a Class 2 Felony is punishable by three to seven years in the IDOC.

“These arrests are a result of outstanding work by law enforcement at all levels, state and federal, along with excellent legal support from county and state prosecutors, especially Assistant State’s Attorney Ken Tatarelis and John Kezdy, Bureau Chief Lisa Madigan’s Statewide Grand Jury,” commented Birkett. “In addition to these arrests, 13 search warrants were executed resulting in the recovery of thousands of pounds of high-grade marijuana as well as U.S. currency and firearms.”

“Today’s charges are the result of a tremendous collaboration among law enforcement agencies and prosecutors at all levels,” said Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “We will continue to work together to investigate and prosecute drug trafficking throughout Illinois.”

Members of the public are reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government will have the burden of proving his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.