20 Defendants Charged in Drug and Gun Investigations Centered on Southwest Side of Chicago
CHICAGO — Twenty individuals are facing criminal charges as part of joint federal and state investigations into drug and gun trafficking in Chicago.
The dual investigations centered on drug sales in the city’s Little Village neighborhood and resulted in the seizures of 445 grams of heroin, 230 grams of cocaine, and $97,770 in illegal drug proceeds. Authorities also seized a pickup truck and 20 illegal firearms, including six rifles.
Indictments returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago charge ten federal defendants with various drug or firearm offenses. Many of the federal defendants were arrested Wednesday. Detention hearings will be held next week in federal court in Chicago. Ten other defendants were charged in state complaints, and several of them were also arrested Wednesday. The state defendants will appear in Cook County Criminal Court.
The charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kimberly M. Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney; Brian McKnight, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; 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; Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department; and Thomas J. Dart, Cook County Sheriff. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Marshals Service and Illinois Department of Corrections.
“These indictments are the result of the relentless effort of multiple law enforcement agencies who are committed to stopping the flow of illegal drugs and guns into our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “We will continue to work with our state and local partners to investigate and prosecute these significant narcotic and firearm cases.”
“These seizures and indictments brought by our prosecutors prove that drugs, money and firearms do go hand-in-hand,” said DEA SAC McKnight. “This collaboration among Chicago’s law enforcement community will continue to thrive and bring to justice those who offend and contaminate our communities.”
“The convergence of guns and drugs pose a tremendous threat to our city,” said FBI SAC Sallet. “Today’s charges demonstrate our commitment to work side by side with our federal and local partners to bring to justice those who terrorize our neighborhoods. Let it be clear, the rule of law is not optional.”
“Illegal drugs and firearms have no place in our communities, “said IRS-CI Special Agent-In-Charge Grchan. “We are proud to provide our financial expertise as we work alongside our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice and make our communities safer.”
“Guns and drugs are driving the violence in many of our neighborhoods,” said State’s Attorney Foxx. “This coordinated and joint effort today with our law enforcement partners shows that we are all committed to ensuring public safety.”
“Our city is plagued by violence fueled by illegal guns and drugs,” Sheriff Dart said. “Those who trade in this misery must be held accountable. Law enforcement will not give up this fight.”
U.S. v. Garcia-Arroyo, et al
This DEA-led investigation began in early 2017 and was conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), in cooperation with the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA). OCDETF is 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.
JOSE GARCIA-ARROYO, 26, of Chicago, is charged with distributing cocaine and heroin in Chicago on numerous occasions last year. Also charged with drug distribution are JASMIN GARCIA, 24, of Chicago; CARLOS CHAVEZ, 32, of Romeoville; and JOEL ANDRADE, 27, of Chicago.
The federal charges accuse convicted felons FAUSTO GONZALEZ, 27, of Chicago, and ARTURO GONZALEZ, 35, of Chicago, of illegally possessing firearms. Fausto Gonzalez allegedly possessed a 12-gauge shotgun and a .40-caliber handgun in Chicago last year, while Arturo Gonzalez allegedly possessed two .22-caliber rifles in the city earlier this year. JONATHAN PANIAGUA, 25, of Bolingbrook, is charged with unlawfully dealing firearms without a license.
In all, four federal indictments charge seven individuals, while state charges were filed against eight individuals. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aaron R. Bond and Matthew Hernandez represent the government in the federal cases, while the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute the state cases.
U.S. v. Oscar Hernandez, et al
This FBI-led investigation resulted in federal indictments against three individuals for gun or drug offenses, and state charges against two others. Charged federally with illegal possession of a firearm are convicted felons ANTHONY MENDEZ, 21, of Melrose Park, and OSCAR HERNANDEZ, 37, of Chicago. Mendez allegedly possessed a loaded AK-47 rifle in west suburban Elmwood Park in 2016, while Hernandez allegedly possessed a Colt .45 revolver and 42 rounds of ammunition in Chicago last year. Hernandez also faces a federal drug charge for allegedly distributing cocaine in Chicago last year.
The federal charges also accuse HECTOR SANCHEZ, 23, of Chicago, with unlawfully dealing firearms without a license.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kavitha Babu and William Dunne represent the government in the federal cases, while the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute the state cases.
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. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.