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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 8, 2020

Ten Defendants Indicted in Federal Investigation That Dismantled Mexico-To-Chicago Cocaine Pipeline

CHICAGO — Ten individuals are facing criminal charges as part of a federal investigation that disrupted a Mexico-to-Chicago cocaine pipeline.

During the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately 18 kilograms of cocaine and more than $300,000 in suspected illicit drug proceeds.  The alleged drug trafficking occurred in the South Loop and Streeterville neighborhoods of Chicago, as well as suburban locations.

The indictments were returned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Two of the defendants remain at large, and warrants have been issued for their arrests.  Arraignments for the other eight defendants have not yet been scheduled.

The charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Robert J. Bell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  Substantial assistance was provided by the Milwaukee, Wisc., Field Division of the DEA, Calumet City Police Department, Chicago Police Department, Evergreen Park Police Department, Gurnee Police Department, Oak Park Police Department, Palos Heights Police Department, Peoria Police Department, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys A.J. Dixon and Ashley A. Chung represent the government.

According to the indictments and criminal complaints previously filed in the case, ANDRES VILLEGAS, 30, of Berwyn, worked with suppliers in Mexico to transport cocaine into the United States.  Villegas conspired with a network of traffickers to distribute the drugs in the Chicago area, the charges allege.

The charges describe several drug transactions last year in Chicago and the suburbs.  One of the deals occurred in a high-rise parking garage in the Streeterville neighborhood on Chicago’s Near North Side, while another occurred in a parking garage in the South Loop neighborhood on the city’s Near South Side, according to the charges.  Other transactions cited in the charges occurred in Plainfield and Bolingbrook.

Charged in four separate indictments with drug conspiracy are Villegas; GUSTAVO AVILA, 23, of Plainfield; AARON ADAMS, 41, of Peoria; ADRIAN CURTIS, 42, of Peoria; DAVID PALM, 50, of Chicago; ALVIN BROWN, 51, of Chicago; SANTIAGO MERAZ, 35, of Milwaukee, Wisc.; JORGE VALDEZ, 33, of Milwaukee, Wisc.; ISIDRO MOYA, 59, of Chicago; and EDUARDO CARRIZALES, 45, of Laredo, Texas.

Moya and Meraz are currently at large.

The public is reminded that indictments contain only charges 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.  If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated May 8, 2020