9 Defendants Charged in Joint Federal and State Investigation Targeting Drug Sales in Joliet
CHICAGO — Nine individuals are facing criminal charges as part of a joint federal and state investigation into heroin and cocaine sales in the Joliet area.
As part of the probe, law enforcement intercepted cellphone communications between the defendants, conducted extensive surveillance, and seized several items, including three firearms, more than three kilograms of cocaine, more than 60 grams of heroin, approximately $90,000 in illicit cash proceeds, and several vehicles. Authorities also carried out court-authorized searches of residences in the 800 block of Vine Street in Joliet, the 1400 block of Exposition Avenue in Aurora, and the 2100 block of Englewood Avenue in Lockport. 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.
Seven defendants are charged in U.S. District Court in Chicago in conspiracies to possess controlled substances with the intent to distribute. Two defendants are charged in Will County with state drug offenses.
Several of the federal defendants were arrested last week and have made initial appearances in federal court in Chicago. The state defendants will appear in Will County Circuit Court at a later time.
The federal charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Substantial assistance was provided by the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, Joliet Police Department, Bolingbrook Police Department, Will County Sheriff's Office, Cook County Sheriff's Office, Orland Park Police Department, Evergreen Park Police Department, Aurora Police Department, and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Joint Intelligence Sharing Initiative. Assistant U.S. Attorney Devlin N. Su represents the government in the federal cases.
Charged with federal conspiracies are WILLIAM NOBLES, 51, of Joliet; JARON NABORS, 38, of Joliet; ERICKA PRUITTE, 38, of Joliet; KALVIN STEWART, 51, of Aurora; GREGORY WARFIELD, 67, of Joliet; CAESAR ESTRADA, 44, of Joliet; and LUIS CONTRERAS, 40, of Joliet. Charged in state court are TASHAUN M. MCCARTER, 40, of Joliet; and DAVID L. WHITE, 53, of Joliet.
According to the federal complaints, Nobles is affiliated with the Joliet faction of the Black Gangster Disciples street gang and operates a drug trafficking organization in the Joliet area. Nabors has conspired with Nobles to distribute the drugs, while Pruitte served as a courier on behalf of Nabors, the charges allege. The complaints describe several instances in which the trio allegedly conspired to distribute narcotics, including in February 2018 when Nobles allegedly supplied Pruitte with cocaine that had been distributed to Nobles by Estrada and Contreras, knowing that Pruitte would then deliver the drugs to Nabors. After the meeting, law enforcement pulled over Pruitte’s vehicle and discovered cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin inside the car, the charges allege.
A separate cocaine seizure occurred in December 2017 after Stewart allegedly supplied Warfield with the drugs during a meeting in Aurora, knowing that Warfield would then deliver the drugs to Nobles. After the meeting, law enforcement pulled over Warfield’s pickup truck and discovered the cocaine in a shopping bag hidden in the passenger-side molding, according to the complaints. Officers also discovered a loaded handgun in the center console of the truck, the complaints state.
The federal conspiracy charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. 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 contains only accusations and are 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.