Seventeen Defendants Facing Federal Narcotics Or Firearms Charges Alleging Nexus Of Guns And Drugs In Chicago
CHICAGO —Seventeen defendants are facing federal narcotics and/or firearms charges
which demonstrate again the intersection of drugs and illegal gun possession in Chicago. An
investigation by the Chicago Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
of alleged drug-trafficking by a father and son that started less than a year ago, has resulted in
federal narcotics charges against them, two alleged suppliers, at least eight alleged customers,
and others, as well as the seizure of more than 14 kilograms of cocaine, three kilograms of
heroin, 15 firearms, and approximately $320,000.
The investigation moved up and down an alleged drug supply ladder as a result of
Chicago police officers and DEA agents using federal wiretaps on at least a dozen phones to
intercept conversations and deliveries of narcotics and firearms.
In a telephone conversation on Nov. 26 last year, defendant DWYANE PAYNE, also
known as “Murder,” allegedly told an individual that he needed a gun because he was going to a
memorial service at North Central Park Avenue and West Division Street, where rival gang
members would be present. Based on that call and others that followed, police and agents set up
surveillance at the intersection and, about an hour later, approached the man who Payne had been
talking to as he was standing next to a 2005 Chrysler 300. The individual ran but was quickly
apprehended and gave permission to search his car. Inside, two TEC-9 semi-automatic pistols
with extended magazines were found on the floor of the backseat – one was loaded with 30 live
rounds and the other, which had a defaced serial number, was loaded with approximately 28 live
rounds, including one in the chamber.
Payne’s brother, MARSHALL PAYNE, was also indicted yesterday for being a
previously convicted felon in illegal possession of both loaded TEC-9s.
Four days later, on Nov. 30, 2012, after listening to other intercepted conversations,
investigators stopped a vehicle in the 7400 block of West Waveland Avenue, arrested the driver
– an alleged drug courier, LUCIO CUEVAS – and seized two kilograms of cocaine and a
handgun later found in a trap compartment in the vehicle. Believing that the cocaine was
destined for delivery to the nearby residence of JOHNNY MENDEZ, located in the 3700 block
of North Olcott Avenue, authorities later that day arrested Mendez and his father, JOHNNY
CHAPARRO, who also lived nearby in the 3700 block of North Oketo Avenue. Investigators
searched Mendez’s home and seized two kilograms of heroin, a handgun and approximately
Authorities first began investigating alleged wholesale cocaine and heroin distribution by
Chaparro and Mendez in 2012. The investigation resulted in charges against them, as well as
two of their alleged suppliers, JOSE ARGUIJO and ANTONIO VALENCIA-PANTOJA, and at
least eight alleged customers, ANTHONY MADISON, PAUL JENKINS, LAKICHA WHITE,
DISLSON ROCHA, JOEL MELENDEZ, DWAYNE PAYNE, DELILAH MARTINEZ, and
IRIS CORREA. The charges allege that Chaparro and Mendez obtained kilogram quantities of
narcotics from Arguijo on Sept. 3 and Nov. 26, 2012, and from Valencia-Pantoja on Nov. 30,
including the cocaine that was seized on those dates.
Following the arrests of Chaparro, Mendez, and Cuevas on Nov. 30, and four other
defendants last week, six additional defendants were arrested on Wednesday, while two others
are in state custody, and two are fugitives.
All 17 defendants were charged in eight separate indictments returned yesterday by a
federal grand jury. Most of the defendants either have been ordered detained or have detention
hearings next week in U.S. District Court.
One indictment, against Chaparro, Mendez and seven others, seeks forfeiture of
approximately $758,729 in alleged narcotics proceeds, including approximately $236,000 that
was seized during the investigation. It also seeks forfeiture of Chaparro and Mendez’s
residences, and an automobile. Other indictments seek forfeiture of smaller amounts of cash, as
well as another vehicle and multiple firearms.
“Anyone who has paid attention over the last 25 years knows that these charges are just
the latest result of the remarkable teamwork among the Chicago Police Department, DEA and
other federal law enforcement agencies,” said Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the
Northern District of Illinois. “While none of these defendants are accused of acts of violence;
nevertheless, narcotics and firearms prosecutions such as these are effective in helping reduce
violence in Chicago, and we will continue to work closely with the CPD to achieve that goal.”
Mr. Shapiro praised the dedication of the Chicago Police Department and the DEA for the
disruption of this alleged narcotics distribution activity.
“Guns and drugs remain the greatest underlying source of our city’s violence. The
Chicago Police Department will continue to attack the pervasiveness of illegal weapons and
narcotics in our communities from every angle,” said Garry F. McCarthy, Superintendent of the
Chicago Police Department. “Focused, collaborative efforts with our federal partners send a
clear message that those responsible for driving the related violence in our communities will be
found and held accountable.”
Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA’s Chicago office, said: “The indictments
of these 17 individuals yesterday should serve as a notice to criminal networks in Chicago that
allegedly traffic in narcotics and weapons that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the
Chicago Police Department stand shoulder to shoulder in our commitment and we will use every
available legal avenue to make our city safer.”
The investigation was conducted under the umbrella of the U.S. Organized Crime Drug
Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
Details of the separate indictments follow:
United States v. Chaparro, et al., 12 CR 969
JOHNNY CHAPARRO, 50; his son, JOHNNY MENDEZ, aka “Trigger,” 29; JOSE
ARGUIJO, 35; ANTHONY MADISON, 47; PAUL JENKINS, 63; LAKICHA WHITE, 36;
DILSON ROCHA, 58; JOEL MELENDEZ, 2; and DWAYNE PAYNE, 29, all of Chicago
except Melendez, who is from Milwaukee, were charged with various narcotics offenses in 19-
count indictment. Seven of the nine defendants are in custody; Arguijo and Melendez are
Mendez was charged with being a felon-in-possession and also possessing a firearm – a
.40 caliber semi-automatic pistol – while committing a drug offense. The felon-in-possession
count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, while the count of possessing a firearm
during a drug offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years to a maximum of life
in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence, if convicted.
Chaparro, Mendez, and Arguijo each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years
and a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine on the narcotics charges. Madison,
Jenkins, White, Rocha, and Melendez each face a mandatory minimum of five years and a
maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine on the narcotics charges, if convicted.
United States v. Chaparro and Meireles, 13 CR 171
JOHNNY CHAPARRO was charged again, together with MODESTO MEIRELES, aka
“Old Man,” 62, of Chicago, in a six-count indictment for various narcotics offenses.
Chaparro and Meireles face a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40
years in prison and a $5 million fine, if convicted.
United States v. Valencia-Pantoja and Cuevas, 13 CR 170
ANTONIO VALENCIA-PANTOJA, 23, and LUCIO CUEVAS, 24, both of Chicago,
were charged together in a three-count indictment for allegedly conspiring to distribute the
cocaine that was seized from Cuevas on Nov. 30, 2012.
They each face a mandatory minimum of five years to a maximum of 40 years in prison
and a $5 million fine, if convicted.
United States v. Martinez and Correa, 13 CR 157
DELILAH MARTINEZ, 33, and her mother, IRIS CORREA, 57, both of Chicago, were
charged together in an 11-count indictment for allegedly conspiring to distribute narcotics.
Martinez was also indicted separately for allegedly being a felon-in-possession of a .357
revolver on July 23, 2012. (United States v. Martinez, 13 CR 173)
They each face a man mandatory minimum of five years to a maximum of 40 years in
prison and a $5 million fine, if convicted. Martinez alone faces a maximum penalty of 10 years
in prison if convicted of being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.
United States v. Payne, 13 CR 174
United States v. Lopez, 13 CR 154
United States v. Suriano, 13 CR 172
Three other defendants were charged separately in single-count indictments for allegedly
being felons-in-possession of firearms. They are: MARSHALL PAYNE, 31, of Chicago, for
allegedly possessing the two TEC-9s on Nov. 26, 2012; CARLOS LOPEZ, aka “Moses,” 34, of
Elmwood Park, for allegedly possessing a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun on June 8, 2012;
and SALVATORE SURIANO, 25, of Chicago, for allegedly possessing a shotgun on July 31,
They each face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted of being a felon-inpossession
of a firearm.
In each case, if convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal
statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines. The public is reminded that
indictments contain only charges and are 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.
The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Erika Csicsila
and Sarah Streicker.