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Chicago Firefighter Sentenced To 17 ½ Years For Supplying Kilos Of Cocaine To Chapaign-Urbana

December 30, 2009

Urbana, Ill. – A former Chicago firefighter, Sung Jin Jeon, 39, of Chicago, has been ordered to serve 210 months (17 ½ years) in federal prison for his role in supplying kilograms of cocaine to a drug trafficking network that sold the drugs in Champaign-Urbana. During the hearing late yesterday, Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey also ordered Jeon to forfeit $500,000 to the government. Jeon was allowed to remain on bond until February 3, 2010, when he was ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.

On Dec. 1, 2008, Jeon waived indictment and pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and money laundering. Jeon admitted that from 2004 to December 2007, while he was employed as a fireman in Chicago, he conspired with two Chicago men, Olaitan Fowowe, 28, and Rashaud Harrell, 28, and others to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. According to court documents and information presented by the government at the plea hearing, Jeon admitted he regularly supplied kilos of cocaine to the drug trafficking organization led by Fowowe and Harrell. The cocaine was transported to the Champaign-Urbana area by various individuals recruited to distribute the drugs.

Jeon further admitted that, as part of the conspiracy, he and Fowowe agreed to launder Fowowe’s drug proceeds through businesses owned by Jeon known as NOEJ Properties, Inc. and 6748 S. Ridgeland Corp. To make it appear as though Fowowe was employed while serving a work release sentence at Crossroads Adult Transition Center in Chicago, Jeon falsely listed Fowowe as an employee of NOEJ Properties. Fowowe then made payments to Jeon from drug proceeds, which Jeon partially redirected back to Fowowe by writing payroll checks and falsely claiming the checks were payment of wages.

On May 15, 2009, Fowowe was sentenced to 262 months (21 years, 10 months) in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine in Champaign-Urbana. Harrell, who pled guilty to the conspiracy in October 2008, is awaiting sentencing. A telephone status conference is scheduled on Jan. 29, 2010. A total of 14 other defendants have been convicted and sentenced in the Central District of Illinois as a result of the ongoing investigation.

The charges are the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration; Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations; and the Champaign Police Department. Agencies providing cooperation and assistance in the investigation include the Urbana Police Department; Champaign County Sheriff’s Department; Illinois Attorney General’s Office; Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office; Calumet City Police Department; Lansing Police Department; and the Illinois Department of Corrections. The case against Jeon was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass.

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