Skip to main content
Press Release

Fugitive for Over Twenty Years Sentenced to Twelve Years in Prison for Large-Scale Heroin Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

Urbana, Ill. – A Chicago, Ill., man, Hector Castaneda, 59, of the 2400 block of South Springfield Avenue, has been sentenced to twelve years in federal prison for his role in a 1997 drug conspiracy involving almost twenty kilograms of heroin.

From 1996 to 1997, Castaneda and his four co-defendants, Ramiro S. Trevino, Raul Cruz-Velasco, Joseph L. Cuevas, and Jose G. Villanueva, were involved in a conspiracy to transport heroin from Texas to Chicago. The conspirators transported five kilograms of heroin from Texas to Chicago on four occasions. On the last occasion, July 5, 1997, a deputy with the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office intercepted the heroin during a traffic stop of Villanueva. The Drug Enforcement Administration and Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group conducted further investigation, resulting in the arrest of the other conspirators, including Castaneda when he travelled from Chicago to a motel room in Kankakee, Illinois, and picked up the five kilograms of heroin.

On July 9, 1997, Castaneda was released from custody on bond. He then fled from the United States to Mexico, where he lived for over twenty years. In the meantime, a trial was held in Urbana, Illinois, his four co-defendants were all convicted, and the court-imposed sentences on them ranging from twelve years and seven months to ten years of imprisonment in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Castaneda returned to Chicago in 2019 and was arrested on his outstanding federal warrant on February 18, 2020, and ordered detained. On March 17, 2021, Castaneda pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin and the attempted possession of more than a kilogram of heroin.

At Castaneda’s sentencing hearing on October 18, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Mihm found that Castaneda was responsible for transporting almost 20 kilograms of heroin and that he had obstructed justice by fleeing the United States while on federal bond.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group, and the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller represented the government in the prosecution.

Updated October 20, 2021

Drug Trafficking