JUN 29 -- (Chicago) Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago Field Division announced today the arrest of 11 alleged participants belonging to a cocaine distribution organization. As part of a long term investigation conducted by the DEA, defendant Calvin Buffington is alleged to have been the head of a drug distribution organization that was responsible for trafficking in multiple kilogram quantities of powder cocaine in Chicago, Detroit and other areas of Michigan. Ten of the arrests took place in Chicago and one in Detroit.
The arrests are the result of a long term multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that began in October 2006. From January 2007 to May 2007, approximately $364,734 in narcotics proceeds and approximately 23 kilograms of cocaine were seized from the organization. The criminal complaint alleges that Calvin Buffington directed the purchase and distribution of cocaine as well as the collection and distribution of narcotics proceeds made by the organization. It is also alleged that members of Buffington’s family participated in the storing of narcotics and narcotics proceeds.
“It’s unfortunate that multiple members of the Buffington family were wrapped up in the greed and distribution of illegal narcotics,” stated Mr. Olenkiewicz. “The family business was selling cocaine on the streets of Chicago and Detroit, and today we put the family out of business. We will continue working with the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners to keep illegal drug distribution organizations like this from operating in our communities.” Other law enforcement agencies involved with the investigation included DEA offices in Chicago, Detroit, Lansing, Minneapolis, and Springfield, Illinois, FBI, US Marshals, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County State Attorney’s Office, Indiana State Police, Michigan State Police, Gary, Indiana Police Department, Lake Station, Indiana Police Department, Champaign, Illinois Police Department and the Lansing, Michigan Police Department.
Along with the arrest warrants, 10 federal search warrants were served at various locations in Chicago and 2 in Detroit on June 28, 2007. Items seized as a result of the court ordered search warrants were approximately $1.5 million in US Currency, approximately 1 kilogram heroin, approximately 20 pounds marijuana, several guns, 12 vehicles, a motorcycle, and miscellaneous documents.
All the Chicago defendants appeared before US Magistrate Jeffrey Cole for initial appearances on Friday June 29, 2007. The next court appearance before Magistrate Cole is scheduled for Tuesday, July 2, 2007, and Monday July 1, 2007 for Lois Buffington. If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory minimum of 10 years imprisonment, a maximum term of life imprisonment, and a fine of up to $4,000,000.00. The public is reminded that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Terra Brown and Steve Dollear.