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Press Release

Leader of Chicago Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 12 and a Half Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A leader of a drug trafficking organization that sold heroin, fentanyl-laced heroin, and fentanyl-analogue laced heroin on the Northwest Side of Chicago has been sentenced to twelve and a half years in federal prison.

KELVIN FRANKLIN conspired with more than 15 others to traffic narcotics in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood in 2019.  A lengthy investigation, led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Chicago Police Department, shut down an open-air drug market utilized by the conspirators in the 1000 block of North Monticello Avenue in Chicago.  During the probe, agents and officers made approximately eighty undercover purchases of heroin, fentanyl-laced heroin, and fentanyl-analogue laced heroin from various members of the crew.  The dealers occasionally held “pass outs” of free drugs to entice customers to buy additional drugs from them.

Franklin supervised other traffickers and also personally sold some of the drugs.  He and other managers coordinated with street-level dealers to ensure that they had sufficient quantities of narcotics to distribute to customers.  In addition to the drug sales, Franklin also attempted to procure a loaded handgun for a member of the crew at the open-air market.  Law enforcement intervened and the gun was seized.

Franklin, 32, of Chicago, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal drug conspiracy charge.  U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp, Jr. imposed the sentence Monday after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

Franklin’s sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Sheila G. Lyons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the DEA, and Larry Snelling, Superintendent of CPD.  Substantial assistance was provided by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard M. Rothblatt and Jason A. Julien represented the government.

The investigation was conducted with the support of the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA).  The task force is comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies who work together to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations. 

Franklin was one of 18 individuals charged in federal court in 2020 as part of the investigation.  To date, 16 federal defendants have pleaded guilty.

Updated October 4, 2023

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