Two Surburban Chicago Men Convicted in Federal Investigation That Dismantled Mexico-to-Chicago Drug Pipeline
CHICAGO — Robert Bell, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-Chicago Division, and U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr., for the Northern District of Illinois announced that a jury has convicted two suburban Chicago men on drug conspiracy charges as part of a federal investigation that disrupted a Mexico-to-Chicago drug pipeline.
Sheldon Morales and Eduardo Santana conspired with a supplier in Mexico and two inmates in a prison in Texas to traffic methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine from Mexico to Evanston, Ill., and Morton Grove, Ill., in 2019. The drugs were sent in packages from California and Arizona and later sold on the streets in the Chicago area.
Law enforcement uncovered the drug trafficking activities through the use of wiretapped cellular phones and extensive surveillance. The case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles drug traffickers and other criminal offenders that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
After a week-long trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the jury on Aug. 5, 2022, convicted Morales, 40, of Morton Grove, Ill., and Santana, 45, of Skokie, Ill., on a drug conspiracy charge. Morales was also convicted of an individual drug charge related to his possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl. Morales faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum of life, while Santana faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life.
U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland has not yet scheduled sentencings.
Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in Chicago joined SAC Bell and U.S. Attorney Lausch in making the announcement. Substantial assistance was provided by the Evanston Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles W. Mulaney, Kirsten Moran, and Jeannice Appenteng represent the government.