November 20, 2009 (CHICAGO) --
They set up a cocaine "command and control" center in Chicago, according to U.S. drug agents, to distribute multi-thousand kilo quantities for one of Mexico's most notorious cartels.Friday a federal grand jury in Chicago handed up indictments against 15 defendants, that for the first time allege they were in cahoots with La Familia Michoacana. The seven separate indictments charge that the cocaine network collected tens of millions of dollars in Chicago from cocaine sales.Read the Indictment
According to officials from the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago, "the Drug Enforcement Administration seized approximately 250 kilograms of cocaine and $8 million. The seizures occurred mostly in suburban locales, including Berwyn, Bolingbrook, Oak Lawn, Hickory Hills, Joliet and Justice.
The investigation, which began in 2007, is part of Project Coronado, a multi-agency narcotics-trafficking investigation that focused on La Familia's distribution network throughout the United States, and which just last month resulted in federal charges against more than 300 defendants in 19 states. The La Familia cartel is based in the state of Michoacan, in southwestern Mexico, and is accused of being responsible for the importation of vast quantities of cocaine from Mexico into the United States.
All 15 defendants were indicted yesterday and charged by the grand jury with conspiracy to possess and distribute multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine. They were charged initially in a criminal complaint filed in August, and together with five others charged previously, bring to 20 the total number of defendants linked to this investigation who are facing federal drug charges in U.S. District Court in Chicago, investigators said.
One defendant, Ismael Flores, is charged with working as a cash courier for the cell, allegedly transporting millions of dollars from Chicago to Dallas in 2008 and 2009.
Here are the cases and defendants as cited by federal prosecutors: JORGE GUDALUPE AYALA-GERMAN, 44, of Joliet, detained; JORGE LUIS TORRES-GALVAN, 31, of Danforth, Ill., aka "Jose Manuel Castell-Villot" and "Choche," detained; JOSE GONZALEZ-ZAVALA,37, of Joliet, aka "Panda,"detained; EZEQUEL HERNANDEZ-PATINO, 48, of Joliet, aka "Cheque," detained; ISMAEL FLORES, 35, of Dallas, aka "Bobby," "Cunado" and "Primo," released on bond; OSCAR BUENO, 25, of Dallas, released on bond; OSCAR MANUEL FLORES-CANDELARIO,34, of Broadview, aka "Manolo," detained; MIGUEL GODINEZ-GONZALEZ, 36, of Rockford, aka "Compadre" and "Pedro," fugitive; CELSO CORONA-SANCHEZ, 37, of Rockford, aka "Ponciano" and "Poncia," detained; JAVIER SOTO-MEDINA, 24, of Rockford, aka "Chuchi," fugitive; JESUS HERNANDEZ, 32, of Orland Park, aka "J.C.," "Yesi," "Yessy del 19" and "Jesse," detained; FRANCISCO RAMIREZ, 40, of Chicago, released on bond; ANAI MAGANA GONZALEZ, 25, of Hammond, Ind., aka "Ana," detained; BARTOLO LUCATERO, 29, of Chicago, aka "Pelon," detained; JOSE RODRIGUEZ, 39, of Brookfield, Wis., detained.