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
Federal authorities say that the entire operation worked off the phone line with drug dealers working in shifts to set up deliveries and take payment. 11 of those drug dealers have been arrested in conjunction with this investigation. One remains at large.
According to the press release, federal agents from the DEA and ATF teamed up with Chicago P.D. to make the bust. The press release indicated that federal authorities were pleased to have the help and support of the Chicago police during the investigation.
Drugs were confiscated during in-person deliveries and a stash house was uncovered with the remaining drugs.
This is Probably a RICO Case
The article does not state this explicitly, but this is likely to be a RICO case. Here, you have an organized criminal enterprise that requires specialized labor. RICO allows all members of an organized criminal enterprise to be charged for the crimes of the enterprise independently of their role within the enterprise.
For any one individual to be charged in conjunction with an organization, they must commit two “predicate offenses” within 10 years on behalf of that organization. These can include drug trafficking and various forms of fraud, among other offenses.
RICO prosecutions require an organization. This organization can be a crime family, like the Mafia, a gang, a corporation, a managed health care facility, or even a political party. RICO attaches 20-year sentences to those engaged in criminal enterprises through an organization.
The Impact of RICO
If you follow the Godfather novels by Mario Puzo, you may remember the concept of Omerta, which is a code of silence. RICO is believed to be one of the major causes for destroying Omerta. Once RICO was passed in 1970, law enforcement had a way of taking down the big boys in criminal organizations. Prior, they had to catch individual mobsters for individual crimes. This made it impossible to take down organizations like Cosa Nostra.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing a RICO prosecution, then you need a criminal defense attorney who understands federal rules of procedure and federal law. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to discuss the situation in greater detail and learn more about how we can help.