Fourteen Defendants Facing State Or Federal Narcotics Or Firearms Charges Alleging Sales Of Guns And Drugs In Chicago
CHICAGO —Fourteen defendants are facing state or federal narcotics and/or firearms charges that, again, link drugs and illegal gun possession in Chicago. An investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, together with the Chicago Police Department and other state and federal law enforcement agencies, has resulted in federal charges against five defendants, while nine others are facing state charges. The investigation resulted in seizures of various retail amounts of powder and crack cocaine and marijuana, and 18 firearms, including an Intratec TEC-22 .22 caliber pistol and two high capacity magazines loaded with ammunition.
The investigation moved up and down an alleged drug supply chain as a result of FBI agents and Chicago police officers, from CPD’s Gang Investigations Division and 9th District tactical team, using federal wiretaps on multiple phones to intercept conversations and deliveries of narcotics and firearms.
In a telephone conversation on Jan. 7, 2013, one federal defendant, JOSE M. LOPEZ, also known as “Baby J,” a self-admitted member of the Latin Saints street gang, allegedly told an individual that they “should just get it for the block,” referring to the TEC-22 pistol so the weapon could be used by the Latin Saints to defend their territory, according to the charges against Lopez.
In all, five defendants are facing federal charges in four separate criminal complaints that were unsealed following the arrests of four of those five yesterday. The fifth defendant, ROCO CERVANTES, is a fugitive and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Eight of the nine state defendants were also arrested yesterday.
The arrests and charges were announced today by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, together with Anita Alvarez, Cook County State’s Attorney; Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Garry F. McCarthy, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.
“These charges demonstrate the continued efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to address the violence that plagues many Chicago neighborhoods. For too long, the families of those neighborhoods have been denied a sense of safety and security. We remain committed to working as a unified front to pursue those who bring guns and drugs and the attendant violence into those areas,” Mr. Nelson said.
“This complex joint operation focused on preventing a cycle of violence and, in addition to the arrests made, we recovered 18 illegal guns. Joint investigations like this one are an effective way for police to work with our state and federal law enforcement partners to address drug and gun crimes,” Superintendent McCarthy said.
“This operation marks another example of our focused and coordinated efforts to get weapons off the streets of Chicago and to eradicate the ongoing plague of drug and gun violence in our neighborhoods,” Ms. Alvarez said.
The Chicago offices of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) also participated in the investigation, which was conducted under the umbrella of the U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
The nine state defendants face various charges, including gunrunning, unlawful sale of a firearm, and delivery of a controlled substance. The eight state defendants who are in custody are: Darrell Mullins, 19; Omar Sanchez, 22; Daniel Nunez, 20; Esteban Rincon, 33; Richard Rocha, 30; Ashley Guzman, 24; Lino Padilla, 26; and Alejandro Guerra, 33.
Details of the four separate federal complaints follow:
United States v. Cervantes, Pulido, and Lopez, 13 CR 622
ROCO CERVANTES, aka “Rock,” 41, and his half-brother, DANNY PULIDO, 26, both of Chicago, were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. JOSE M. LOPEZ, aka “Baby J,” 26, was charged with distribution of cocaine.
Pulido and Lopez appeared yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys, while Cervantes remains a fugitive. Pulido was released on bond pending a preliminary hearing on Aug. 19. Lopez remains in federal custody pending detention and preliminary hearings on Aug. 6.
According to the complaint affidavit, Lopez sold 248.7 grams, or nearly nine ounces, of cocaine to a confidential source for $9,300 in the 4500 block of South Hermitage on Dec. 2, 2012. Lopez allegedly obtained the cocaine from Cervantes, who was his upstream source of supply, while Cervantes and Pulido allegedly conspired to distribute cocaine to Lopez. On Dec. 15, 2012, Cervantes and Pulido supplied nine additional ounces of cocaine to Lopez, who then distributed the cocaine to an individual who fled without paying Lopez, the affidavit alleges. On April 26, 2013, Cervantes and Pulido allegedly sold approximately 167.6 grams, or nearly six ounces, of cocaine to a different confidential source working with law enforcement.
If convicted, Cervantes and Pulido face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine, while Lopez faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
United States v. Lopez, 13 CR 621
Lopez was also charged in a separate complaint with being a felon-in-possession of a firearm in connection with the TEC-22. After Lopez and another individual allegedly acquired the weapon on Jan. 8, 2013, Chicago police officers attempted to stop Lopez’ vehicle but he failed to stop and led police on a brief high-speed chase. Police located Lopez’ abandoned vehicle in an alley in the 4500 block of South Hermitage, and found a black plastic high capacity .22 caliber magazine containing 30 live rounds of ammunition and five $100 bills. On Jan. 17, Lopez allegedly sold the TEC-22 pistol, a flash suppressor, two magazines loaded with 48 rounds of .22 ammunition, and a hard black plastic gun case to a confidential source for $500. On March 7, 2013, Lopez sold a .45 caliber handgun to the same confidential source for $500, according to the complaint affidavit.
The felon-in-possession count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, if convicted.
United States v. Rincon, 13 CR 620
RICHARD C. RINCON, aka “Suds,” 31, of Chicago, was charged with being a felon-inpossession of a .25 caliber handgun on July 3, 2013. Rincon allegedly sold the gun and ammunition for $125, as well as a bag containing cocaine for $575, to a confidential source.
Rincon remains in federal custody and waived a detention hearing. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 7. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.
United States v. Sanchez, 13 CR 619
ESGAEL SANCHEZ, aka “Negro,” 27, of Chicago, was charged with being a felon-inpossession of a nine millimeter handgun on March 7, 2013. On that date, Sanchez allegedly sold a nine millimeter handgun and 12 rounds of ammunition for $500 to a confidential source. A month earlier, on Feb. 8, 2013, he allegedly sold a different nine millimeter handgun and eight rounds of ammunition for $350 to the confidential source. The affidavit further alleges that Sanchez sold three ounces of cocaine to the confidential source for $3,300 on March 29, 2013.
Sanchez remains in federal custody and waived both detention and preliminary hearings. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.
In each case, if convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines. The public is reminded that complaints contain only charges 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.
The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Burke and Peter Flanagan.