DEA, FBI, and Chicago Police Investigation Leads to
OCT 01 – September 30, 2010 – (Chicago) On Wednesday, September 29, 2010, FBI and DEA agents, together with Chicago police, began executing arrest and search warrants against 18 federal defendants. Among those defendants arrested was Moises Villalobos, an alleged wholesale dealer with Mexican connections, after authorities seized approximately 25 kilos of heroin from him since July in Chicago and south suburban Harvey.
Villalobos allegedly supplied heroin to a faction of the Gangster 2-6 Nation street gang that was dismantled two weeks ago in a similar takedown on state and federal narcotics charges. Another defendant, Roberto Romero, allegedly directed a separate drug-trafficking cell that was supplied by Villalobos, and which re-sold wholesale quantities of cocaine and heroin to various customers in the Chicago area, as well in Milwaukee and northern Indiana. Defendant Antonio Negron allegedly transported wholesale supplies of cocaine into Chicago on multiple commercial airline trips from Puerto Rico, and yet another defendant, Helga Weis, allegedly staged the simultaneous robbery of a drug supplier and a customer.
“The wholesale supply side and the retail street sales of narcotics trafficking are equally important components of the same problem,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. “These coordinated efforts demonstrate the commitment of all law enforcement agencies in Chicago, at both the federal and state level, to combat the dangerous combination of gangs, guns and drugs in our community,” he added.
“The DEA will continue to investigate alleged drug trafficking organizations with every legally available tool we possess. During this investigation, our agents worked with the FBI and the Chicago Police Department to deploy a myriad of investigative tactics, from surveillance to court-authorized wire intercepts,” said Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the DEA. “Our mission is to keep law enforcement pressure on these alleged drug distribution networks, while gathering evidence for use in court.”
Jody P. Weis, Superintendent, Chicago Police Department, said: “This operation is critical because it targeted individuals who are alleged to have received illegal drugs that were subsequently sold on the city's south and west sides. Removing these individuals will impact the ability of street gangs to profit from their illegal activities.”
In one of five separate complaints, Moises Villalobos, 23, also known as “Antonio Salgado,” Faustino Arrellano, 37, Adan Moreno, 20, and Rosa Fernandez, 53, were charged with conspiring between May and Aug. 25, 2010, to possess and distribute a kilogram or more of heroin and five kilograms or more of cocaine. On July 14, agents and officers seized nearly a kilogram of heroin after Villalobos allegedly had a courier deliver it to a customer; on Aug. 15, approximately 10 kilograms of heroin was seized before it was delivered to Villalobos; and approximately 12 kilograms of heroin was seized on Aug. 24 from a car in a garage in Harvey after Villalobos’ co-defendants allegedly moved it from a “stash house” in Chicago.
According to the specific transactions described in the complaint, between April and August this year alone, Villalobos and his co-defendants were responsible for the movement of at least 17 kilograms of cocaine and 50 kilograms of heroin.
Villalobos allegedly used his connections to Mexican brokers to receive wholesale quantities of cocaine and heroin from suppliers in the Chicago area, and then distributed those narcotics to various customers. Those customers included Roberto Romero, 45, who was charged in a separate complaint, along with 10 co-defendants, for allegedly operating a re-sale distribution network that had customers across the region, including in Milwaukee and northern Indiana. Villalobos and his organization also allegedly supplied multiple kilograms of cocaine to Francisco Masias, the alleged leader of a 2-6 street gang faction who was among 19 defendants who were charged with federal narcotics crimes two weeks ago.
According to the charges, Villalobos maintained two stash houses where he received and stored his supplies of heroin and cocaine. One was located in Chicago, where agents and officers found approximately 1.7 kilograms of heroin, 1.2 kilograms of cocaine and $750,000 in cash hidden under the floor of a bedroom closet during a search on Aug. 19 after Villalobos was arrested on state drug charges. Villalobos allegedly received a shipment of approximately 13 kilograms of heroin on June 25 at a different Chicago stash house. Between Aug. 12 and 18, approximately 12 kilograms of heroin was stored at one of the Chicago stash houses before Villalobos’ co-conspirators allegedly moved the heroin to Harvey. Villalobos, Arrellano and Fernandez simultaneously removed other belongings from the house as well.
Both the Villalobos and Romero complaints allege the seizure of nearly a kilogram of “Mexican brown heroin” on July14 when a courier for Villalobos allegedly attempted to make a delivery to one of Romero’s customers, identified as Leo Mercado, by placing the heroin on the front floorboard of an unlocked silver Mercedes SUV parked on the street in a Chicago neighborhood. Unbeknownst to the defendants, agents, who were conducting surveillance, immediately seized the heroin from the vehicle before it could be retrieved. A subsequent intercepted phone calls indicated that Villalobos and Romero believed that Romero’s customer was lying when he later claimed that he could not find the heroin in the vehicle.
The Romero complaint alleges that he received wholesale quantities of cocaine and heroin from Villalobos, as well as his main cocaine supplier, Richard Medina, 27, of Berwyn, with whom he bought and sold heroin. It is further alleged that he then “fronted” both cocaine and heroin to other customers for re-sale. The nine-count, 157-page complaint charges the following: Counts One, Two and Four charge Romero; Medina; Alejandro Reyes, 26; Abraham Mercado, 29, of Cicero; and Ana Montoya, 30, with one count each of conspiracy to possess and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; Count Three charges an unnamed defendant later identified as Leo Mercado, 24, with conspiracy to possess and distribute one kilogram or more of heroin; Counts Five through Seven charge Nicolas Gomez, 31; Thomas Merced, 31,of Hobart, Ind.; and Luis Lopez-Martinez, 26, of Melrose Park; with one count each of conspiracy with Romero to possess and distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine; Count Eight charges and Israel Hernandez, 37, of Forest Park, with possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine; and Count Nine charges Johnny Fort, 45, with conspiracy with Romero to possess and distribute more than 100 grams of heroin.
Three other defendants were charged individually in separate complaints. They are: Francisco Llamas, 41, distribution of heroin; Antonio Negron, 39, of Winter Haven, Fla., conspiracy to distribute cocaine — Negron allegedly transported various amounts of cocaine to Chicago on five trips between November 2009 and March 2010 aboard commercial airlines arriving at O’Hare International Airport; and Helga Weis, 25, interstate robbery — Weis, together with three unnamed, uncharged individuals, allegedly brokered a cocaine deal on March 10, 2010, between a supplier and a customer, in which both were robbed but only money was taken.
After meeting with the customer and obtaining $1,500 for the purchase of cocaine, Weis met with the supplier in the supplier’s car in a Chicago neighborhood. Using a monitored phone, Weis had placed an outgoing call that went to voicemail but the phone remained on during the following events, according to the criminal complaint charging her: a gunman approached the car, threatened to shoot and demanded money and the car keys, and then fired a shot into the car. Weis gave the gunman $1,400 and the supplier gave the keys before the gunman fled with the money but no drugs. The victim supplier then fled and Weis allegedly called the gunman and another individual to return to the car to obtain cocaine left inside the vehicle but they were unable to retrieve it from a hidden compartment. Weis then told the victim customer about the purported robbery without disclosing her alleged involvement.
If convicted, Villalobos, Arrellano, Moreno, Fernandez, Romero, Medina, Reyes, both Mercados, and Montoya face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to a maximum of life in prison and a $4 million fine. Defendants Gomez, Merced, Lopez-Martinez, Hernandez, and Fort face a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. Defendants Llamas, Negron and Weis each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The Court, however, must determine a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Kubiatowski, Stephen Lee and Angel Krull.
The public is reminded that charges are merely allegations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.