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Press Release

Sinaloa Cartel Associate Sentenced to More Than Eleven Years in Prison for Conspiring to Traffic Cocaine in Chicago Area

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

CHICAGO — An associate of the Sinaloa drug cartel has been sentenced to more than eleven years in federal prison for conspiring to traffic at least 40 kilograms of cocaine in the Chicago area.

ROBERTO VELAZQUEZ MARTINEZ, 39, of Santiago Papasquiaro, Mexico, conspired with several individuals to import and distribute the cocaine into the United States on behalf of drug traffickers in Mexico.  Velazquez traveled to Chicago in the fall of 2018 to arrange a multi-kilogram cocaine shipment with co-conspirators and two other individuals posing as Columbian drug traffickers who were actually working confidentially with U.S. law enforcement.  Velazquez fled the U.S. after a failed cocaine deal in Stickney, Ill., on Dec. 4, 2018.   He was arrested in 2019 in Peru and extradited to the U.S. in 2020.   

Velazquez pleaded guilty earlier this year to a drug conspiracy charge.  U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow imposed the 136-month prison sentence Tuesday after a hearing in federal court in Chicago. 

The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Sheila G. Lyons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service, and INTERPOL.  The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron R. Bond.

The investigation was conducted with the support of the Chicago HIDTA and OCDETF Task Forces, which are comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies working together to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations.

Velazquez was originally charged with four alleged co-conspirators.  Three of the alleged co-conspirators are considered fugitives and warrants have been issued for their arrests, while the fourth, LOUIS REYES VELEZ, of Stickney, Ill., has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is awaiting trial.

Updated November 17, 2023

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