6 Defendants Charged in Federal Investigation Targeting Narcotics Sales in Rockford
CHICAGO — Six individuals are facing federal criminal charges as part of an investigation into heroin and crack cocaine sales in the Rockford area.
As part of the probe, law enforcement conducted numerous controlled purchases of narcotics and conducted extensive physical and video surveillance. Authorities earlier this month searched a residence in the 4400 block of Grinnell Drive in Rockford and discovered distribution quantities of heroin.
The investigation was conducted by the Rockford Area Violent Gang Task Force and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Police. The Rockford Area Violent Gang Task Force is led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and includes members of the FBI and the Rockford, Loves Park, and Freeport Police Departments.
A criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Rockford charges six defendants with conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine, with intent to distribute. Several of the defendants were arrested Wednesday. Detention hearings will be held next week in U.S. District Court in Rockford.
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; and Gary Caruana, Winnebago County Sheriff. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Talia Bucci represents the government.
“The charges in this case send a clear message that the distribution of illegal drugs in Rockford will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “I commend our federal and local law enforcement partners for working together to shut down a significant drug trafficking organization.”
“These arrests and seizures demonstrate our overall strategy and relentless determination to eradicate the drug-fueled gang violence plaguing our community,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Sallett. “We are proud to work side by side with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Rockford Area Violent Gang Task Force, and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office to bring these individuals to justice. Anyone who terrorizes our communities with their wanton drug dealing should know, we are coming for you.”
Winnebago County Sheriff Caruana thanked all law enforcement partners for their unselfish work to bring this case to a successful conclusion. “This operation makes the Winnebago County region a safer community and showcases Cooperative Law Enforcement,” Sheriff Caruana said.
According to the complaint, TYJUAN ANDERSON, 35, of Rockford, operated a drug-trafficking organization that distributed narcotics in the Rockford area. The complaint alleges that Anderson and other members of his crew, including CHRISTOPHER ARNOLD, 33, of Rockford, and LUMONT JOHNSON, 45, of Rockford, obtained narcotics from multiple suppliers and provided the drugs to other members of Anderson’s organization. The charges allege that CLEVELAND JOHNSON, 38, of Rockford, and DAVID APPLETON, 55, of Rockford, distributed the drugs to customers in the Rockford area.
According to the complaint, Anderson served as a mentor to JUSTIN HILL, 37, of Rockford, on how to operate a successful drug-trafficking business, manage money, and avoid police surveillance. At times when Anderson was low on narcotics, Hill would supply him with drugs to increase Anderson’s inventory, the complaint states.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines. The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is 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.