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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2004

DEA Arrests 10 Defendants In Alleged Texas-Chicago Drug Ring
Hundreds of Kilos of Cocaine, Cash Seized

CHICAGO – Ten defendants, including the alleged leaders in Chicago and Texas of a large-scale cocaine and marijuana trafficking organization were arrested in Chicago on federal drug-trafficking charges, Richard W. Sanders, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration announced today. The defendants, charged in two separate criminal complaints, include Gustavo Campos, the alleged leader of the Campos organization in Chicago, and Felix Herrera, the alleged leader of the Campos organization in Texas along the southwest border of Mexico. The investigation, which began in 2001, has resulted in the seizure of more than 600 kilograms of cocaine, including some 360 kilograms this week; 2,000 pounds of marijuana; and more than $215,000 in cash, including approximately $85,000 this week.

Rick Sanders, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division (center), Mark Prosperi Deputy U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (left) and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stuart Fullerton and Monica Krusik appear before the Chicago News Media to announce the criminal complaints.

Campos and Herrera, and eight other defendants, including Joseph Bleka, the owner of a south side trucking company where cocaine and cash were seized on Tuesday, were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana. All 10 defendants were arrested Tuesday and are being held in federal custody without bond pending further proceedings in U.S. District Court. A list of defendants follows.

“This is one of many significant narcotics-trafficking investigations being conducted by DEA to disrupt the flow of drugs and drug proceeds through the Chicago area,” Mr. Sanders said. “These seizures and charges will cripple one of the southwest border’s most sophisticated trafficking organizations and is the result of an intensive investigation by DEA agents in Chicago and Texas.”

Mr. Sanders announced the charges with Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and they thanked the police departments in Oak Forest, Bridgeview, Palos Hills, Chicago Ridge, Evergreen Park and McCook, which had officers assigned to the drug task force.

According to the complaint affidavits, the investigation revealed that Gustavo Campos, Martin Vasquez Felix Herrera and Maximino Campos transported multiple kilogram quantities of cocaine and marijuana from the southwest border area, specifically from McAllen and Roma, Tex., via tractor-trailer and passenger vehicles to the Chicago area for redistribution, including to street gangs in Chicago and other customers in Indiana, New Jersey and California. Herrera was responsible for the coordination of activities with individuals in Mexico who supplied the organization with narcotics, and also for building and installing trap compartments in semi-trailers and passenger vehicles.

The complaints allege that on March 1, 2002, approximately 250 kilograms of cocaine were seized from the organization from a tractor-trailer parked at the Hinsdale Oasis along I-294, southwest of Chicago. The charges add that on June 10, 2003, approximately $132,520 in cash was seized from the organization.

On Feb. 2, DEA agents confronted Vasquez who then began cooperating with the investigation. Vasquez told agents that in June 2000, he transported approximately $1.4 million in drug proceeds from Chicago to Texas. In the last six to eight months, Vasquez told agents that the organization has transported between 400 and 600 kilograms of cocaine each month from Texas to Chicago, conservatively totaling between 2,400 and 3,200 kilos of cocaine, according to the complaints.
On Tuesday, agents conducting surveillance, seized approximately 328 kilos of cocaine from defendant Joseph Bleka’s trucking company warehouse, J B Land Trucking, located at 4780-4800 South Central, where the shipments of narcotics were typically off-loaded and separated from produce goods used to disguise the narcotics. Bleka allegedly received $5,000 for each such use of the warehouse, the affidavits allege. Following Bleka’s arrest, agents seized approximately $15,000 in cash from his residence in Lemont.

After defendant Miguel Lopez was arrested, agents found three stash houses – 1828 South Canalport, where $20,000 to $30,000 was recovered; 2112 West Erie, where approximately 28 kilograms of cocaine, two handguns, scales and other items were recovered; and 2331 Lister, where an additional $30,000 was seized.

If convicted, the defendants each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole and a maximum fine of $4 million. Note, however, that the Court, will determine the appropriate sentence to be imposed under the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Stuart Fullerton and Monika Bickert.

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

DEFENDANTS
DATE OF BIRTH
LAST ADDRESS
GUSTAVO CAMPOS
09-17-66
CHICAGO
FELIX HERRERA
09-27-76
McALLEN, TX
MARTIN VASQUEZ
04-13-55
CHICAGO
MAXIMINO CAMPOS
03-30-73
CHICAGO
JOSEPH DEATON
04-07-75
LYONS, IL
OSCAR MENJIVAR
01-01-73
LONG BEACH, CA
JOSEPH BLEKA
04-18-56
LEMONT, IL
MIGUEL LOPEZ
12-16-77
ALSIP, IL
REYNALDO HERNANDEZ
10-25-62
LOS ANGELES
MANUEL CONTRERAS
05-02-79
MEXICO

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