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Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

Authorities have made a reported $22 million cannabis bust after pursuing a vehicle at high speeds. The defendant, Jesser Oaxaca, 32, will face one count of trafficking cannabis, numerous weapons charges, and one charge of delivering cannabis. 

According to police, they spotted the van exiting a warehouse they suspected of drug activity. Two suspects emerged from this. One was Oaxaca and the other was an accomplice, Nicholas Valentino. 

Authorities followed the van while Valentino and Oaxaca conspired on Facetime to ambush the pursuing agents. At one point, Valentino fired two shots into the officers’ car. No one, however, was injured. Afterward, a high-speed chase ensued. The two vehicles piloted by each suspect fled in opposite directions. The Volkswagen, driven by Valentino eventually crashed into a squad card, thus ending the chase. 

The officer is okay. He was shot in the vest. The woman who fired the bullets, however, was critically injured in the exchange of gunfire. She was charged with attempted murder, weapons crimes, and aggravated battery. On Monday, she accepted a plea for aggravated battery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Good behavior credits plus time served mean that she could be out in as little as four years. Had the defendant been convicted of attempted murder, she would have faced a minimum sentence of 26 years. 

What Happened?

Two plainclothes officers witnessed the defendant during a suspected drug deal. One officer called the defendant over for questioning. She immediately ran. The officer gave chase. When he was about to catch up with her, she turned around and shot him. The bullet penetrated a flashlight on his vest and then also penetrated the vest leaving a scar on his body near his heart. The officers returned fire but critically wounded the defendant who survived her injuries to stand trial. She was expected to plead innocent and then defend herself at trial, but a last-minute plea deal subverted the effort.

A joint federal and local probe produced 17 defendants in connection with a drug trafficking ring responsible for putting heroin and cocaine on the streets of Chicago. The defendants will face federal charges and be charged in federal court. According to the press release, the operation remained ongoing for years prior to making these arrests. Federal agents announced the seizure of multiple kilos of cocaine and heroin in several Chicago neighborhoods. The effort had contributions from Chicago P.D. and the Department of Homeland Security. The measure produced 17 defendants who are facing federal charges and two more who are facing state charges. 

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces

The OCDEF is a multi-agency effort to attack cartels and gangs that distribute narcotics on the streets. Its efforts targeted international drug trafficking and were led by prosecutors to help build cases against those involved in the drug trade. According to the Justice Department, it is the largest transnational anti-crime task force in the country. The agency has 500 federal prosecutors, 1,200 federal agents, and 5,000 local and state police. 

In cases in which someone dies of a drug-related overdose, the law has established that it can prosecute these crimes as homicides. What type of homicide is a different story. In several states, providing addicts with drugs can be prosecuted as a felony murder charge. The Chicago PD has quietly begun investigating drug deaths to build homicide cases against drug dealers.

How do Chicago criminal defense attorneys feel about that? Well, let me tell you.

What is a “Drug-Induced Homicide”?

26 Westside residents are facing federal charges related to the operation of a drug hotline. The FBI says that they made numerous purchases of crack-cocaine and fentanyl-laced heroin. The operation began in the summer.

Federal authorities issued a statement that said that they will continue to vigorously prosecute anyone who distributes fentanyl-laced drugs on the streets. Over the summer and early fall, 13 were arrested on drug and weapons charges related to the operation. Another 13 now face charges related to conspiracy, trafficking, and other charges. The complaint names Dexstin Bryant, a 31-year-old from Chicago, as the ringleader. Bryant allegedly distributed 124 grams of fentanyl-mixed heroin and 38 grams of cocaine. 

The Convenience of Delivery

Purdue Pharmaceuticals will plead guilty to three federal charges as part of an $8 billion settlement related to the production of OxyContin. Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies have been accused of lying to doctors about the addictiveness of their medication and funding pill farms by allowing small rural communities to purchase major quantities of the opioid that far surpassed their population. Other charges include conspiracy to defraud the United States and arranging kickbacks for doctors and clinics.

The judgment is expected to put Purdue Pharma into bankruptcy where their assets will be handled by a bankruptcy judge and a trustee. While the deal punishes the company itself, individual executives have not been absolved of wrongdoing. They can still face charges related to their individual roles in causing what has been dubbed “the opioid epidemic.” 

Half a Million Deaths Since 2000

The feds arrested the alleged leader of the Black Disciples gang, Darnell “Murder” McMiller. The Black Disciples are believed to be involved in gun and drug trafficking and are one of the major players on Chicago’s south side. 

These arrests come amid Trump initiatives to send federal officers into major cities, all democratic strongholds. Trump and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who initially opposed the move, came to an agreement. Trump appears to be interested in helping these democratic cities fight violent crime. However, his tactics have garnered nationwide condemnation in Portland, where allegedly plainclothes DHS officers grabbed people off the streets and took them to federal facilities without filing charges. 

Most of the Portland mission seemed geared toward protecting the federal courthouse that had been vandalized by protesters over the course of several nights. This, however, appears geared toward reducing some of the violence in the most troubled parts of Chicago.

Felipe “The Engineer” Cabrera Sarabia has been extradited to the United States where he will face federal charges in a Chicago courtroom. Sarabia is a top aide for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the former Sinaloa cartel boss.

Sarabia is now 50 years old and is believed to have overseen marijuana operations in Mexico prior to his arrest in 2011. Sarabia pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges. If he is convicted, he could face life in prison.

The Charges

david-von-diemar-745969-unsplash-copy-200x300The City of Waukegan is fighting an order handed down by the Attorney General to release body cam footage after a 31-year-old man died in police custody. The request was made by a private citizen under the Freedom of Information Act. The Attorney General issued a statement saying that the city’s refusal to disclose the footage violated the requirements of the FOIA. The city is arguing that it does not have to release the video because the investigation is ongoing. In other words, they are saying that since the mysterious death is still under investigation, they should be absolved from having to release potentially damning footage related to the incident. The death occurred in the summer of 2018.

The body cam footage was taken in June of 2018 after 31-year-old Avion Cotton was taken into custody after he fled on foot in an apparent attempt to escape police. Waukegan police said in a statement that Cotton had eaten an unknown white substance during the chase and became physically distressed while in custody.

The Background

haley-lawrence-1194174-unsplash-copy-300x200Criminal indictments of major executives at pharmaceutical companies have made headlines across the county as local governments point fingers over the opioid crisis. Now, the federal government is getting involved, as well. At least six companies are the target of a federal probe into whether or not these companies violated the law

Activists have been calling for the sanction of opioid distributors for their role in the opioid crisis. Among the major accusations such companies are facing is the question of whether or not they lied to doctors concerning the addictive properties of their medications. There is some indication that they may have sold their drugs as “less addictive” than older opioid-based medications.

Additionally, opioid companies are accused of oversupplying certain rural communities with enough pills to kill everyone in the county. These pills often made their way into pill mills and were sold on the streets to willing buyers. 

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