12 Defendants Charged in Federal Investigation Targeting Heroin Trafficking on West Side of Chicago
CHICAGO — Twelve individuals are facing federal charges as part of an investigation into heroin trafficking on the West Side of Chicago.
As part of the investigation, dubbed “Operation Dirty Ice,” law enforcement intercepted cellphone communications between the defendants, conducted extensive surveillance, and performed court-authorized searches of residences in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and west suburban Bellwood. During the probe, authorities seized one and a half kilograms of heroin, a half kilogram of crack cocaine, more than $892,000 in illicit cash proceeds, and a stolen handgun.
The investigation was conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, whose principal mission is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations.
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago charges eleven defendants with conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, and one defendant with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. Many of the defendants were arrested Tuesday, and they have made initial appearances in federal court in Chicago.
The charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. The Illinois State Police provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly Guzman and Rebekah Holman represent the government.
Charged in the drug conspiracy are DIAMOND LAKE, 42, of Bellwood; DARNELL HUDSON, 42, of Chicago; ANTWION WILLIAMS, 43, of Berwyn; DERRON BARTON, 42, of Chicago; STEVEN MOORE, 41, of Chicago; ROMELL RATLIFF, 40, of Chicago; DEANDRE HUGHES, 23, of Chicago; LAWRENCE JONES, 41, of Chicago; CLAYVON VIVETTER, 30, of Chicago; WILLIE BLAKE, 39, of Chicago; and EDDIE YOUNG, 39, of Chicago. Charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute is TYJUAN YATES, 36, of Chicago.
According to the charges, Lake operated a drug trafficking organization that distributed nearly 500 grams of heroin in the Chicago area on a weekly basis. The organization used Lake’s residence in Bellwood to store bulk quantities of heroin and to prepare the drug for street-level distribution, the complaint states. Lake, Williams and Hudson parceled the drug in distinctive packaging by wrapping it in tinfoil and stapling it inside mini Ziploc bags, the complaint states. Williams and Hudson then allegedly worked with Barton to bring the bags to street-level dealers, including Moore, Ratliff, Hughes, Jones, Vivetter, Blake and Young. After sales on the street, Williams, Hudson and Barton collected cash proceeds and delivered the money to Lake, the charges allege.
From May to October of this year, Lake’s organization distributed at least 10 kilograms of heroin to customers on the West Side of Chicago, the complaint states. Many of the sales allegedly occurred in the city’s Austin neighborhood, including in the 100 block of North LaPorte Avenue, the 5000 block of West Maypole Avenue, and the 4800 block of West Quincy Street.
The charge against Yates stems from a June 2018 seizure of heroin in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago, the complaint states. Law enforcement discovered approximately 109 grams of packaged heroin in Yates’s vehicle in the 4400 block of West Fulton Street, according to the complaint.
The conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, while the possession charge against Yates is punishable by up to 20 years. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that charges contain only accusations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.