Arizona Prison Inmate Charged with Brokering Sale of Fentanyl and Meth in Illinois
CHICAGO — Robert Bell, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-Chicago Division, and U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr., of the Northern District of Illinois announced that an inmate in a state prison in Arizona has been charged with federal drug offenses for allegedly brokering the sale of fentanyl and methamphetamine in Illinois.
A criminal complaint filed on Feb. 18, 2022, in U.S. District Court in Chicago charges Manuel Garcia, also known as “Chuy,” 42, with distribution of controlled substances.
Garcia has been incarcerated since 2010 by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry. In the summer of 2021, while residing at the Eyman Arizona State Prison Complex, Garcia allegedly coordinated with a buyer outside of the prison to purchase methamphetamine and fentanyl for delivery to Illinois. Garcia negotiated the transaction, including sending photos of the methamphetamine via video chat, using a cell phone he had smuggled into the prison, the complaint states. Garcia had approximately a pound of crystal methamphetamine and nearly 1,000 fentanyl pills sent to the buyer at an address in Joliet, Illinois, the complaint states. Unbeknownst to Garcia, the buyer was cooperating with law enforcement. On July 8, 2021, law enforcement intercepted the package of narcotics upon arrival at a U.S. postal facility in Forest Park, Illinois.
In the days that followed, Garcia allegedly directed the buyer to meet a third party and pay him on Garcia’s behalf for the fentanyl and methamphetamine. On July 14, 2021, with law enforcement covertly watching, the buyer met with Garcia’s representative in a parking lot at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and provided $11,100 as payment to Garcia for the narcotics, the complaint states.
Garcia currently resides at the Florence Arizona State Prison Complex. His initial appearance in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys A.J. Dixon and Megan DeMarco.
The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The charge in the complaint is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in federal prison and a maximum of life. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.