Federal Judge Sentences Man to 20 Years in Prison for Detonating Pipe Bomb at Suburban Chicago Train Station
CHICAGO — Eleven individuals, including a woman and two of her sons, are facing criminal charges as part of a federal drug and gun investigation in Chicago.
During the multi-year investigation, law enforcement seized 29 firearms and associated ammunition, a machete and sheath, approximately a kilogram of cocaine, 78 pounds of marijuana, more than $190,000 in suspected illicit cash proceeds, and diamond jewelry, Rolex watches and designer clothing appraised at more than $300,000. Much of the alleged drug trafficking occurred on the South Side of Chicago.
All eleven defendants were arrested last week. Detention hearings for many of the defendants are being held this week in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
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 Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Substantial assistance was provided by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Cook County Sheriff’s Department, Evergreen Park Police Department, Joliet Police Department, Orland Park Police Department, and Bolingbrook Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ankur Srivastava and Sheri Wong represent the government.
According to charges filed in federal court, RAKIM ASAD, 26, of Chicago, and his mother, HARRIETTE MCPHERSON, 46, of Chicago, conspired with each other and DERRICK MCNEAL, 46, of Chicago, to possess cocaine and marijuana with the intent to deliver. Asad is also charged with knowingly possessing a loaded handgun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
During the investigation, law enforcement seized from Asad a Rolex watch and two necklaces, according to the indictment against him. Attached to the necklaces were 14-carat gold pendants with the initials “LAFA” written in diamonds, the indictment states. The initials are an apparent reference to Asad’s suspected affiliation with LAFA, a Chicago street gang.
Four of the defendants are charged with conspiring to rob a drug dealer of marijuana in Chicago and Bridgeview in the summer of 2017. The charges allege that KELVIN EVERETT, 38, of Chicago, GREGORY BLACKWELL, 29, of Chicago, QUINCY WRIGHT, 37, of Chicago, and JERRY PEOPLES, 42, of Chicago, possessed a loaded rifle and handgun during an attempted robbery of the dealer on June 13, 2017, in Bridgeview. Everett, Blackwell, Wright and Peoples are also charged with illegal possession of the rifle and handgun, due to having prior felony convictions that prohibited them from lawfully possessing a firearm.
The charges further allege that RACHAD LUCAS, 38, of Calumet City, stored controlled substances in a storage unit in Calumet City. Lucas is also charged with possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, knowingly possessing a handgun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and illegally possessing the handgun as a previously convicted felon.
Three other defendants face various drug charges: RACHAD UNDERWOOD, 42, of Chicago, CALVIN WOODS, 28, of Chicago, and SINCERE BRANNON, 19, of Chicago. Brannon, who is also McPherson’s son, faces an additional charge of knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
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. The charges carry maximum penalties ranging from 20 years to life in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.