Articles Tagged with Chicago drug crimes attorney

The son of notorious drug trafficker El Chapo has been extradited to Chicago from Mexico on charges of drug trafficking. Ovidio Guzman Lopez was charged in April along with two dozen others who are suspected of being a part of the Sinaloa Cartel. According to the lawsuit, the Sinaloa Cartel used chemicals shipped from China to fuel to fentanyl crisis here in the U.S. The cartel is believed to be responsible for importing 80% of the drugs found on Chicago streets over the past three decades. 

Standoff Between Sinaloa and Mexican Police

U.S. authorities have wanted to extradite Guzman Lopez since 2019. He was captured by Mexican authorities in a small town outside the city of Culiacán. In 2019, Mexican authorities attempted to apprehend Guzman Lopez but the cartel fought back engaging in shootouts with Mexican authorities and military. The Mexican president ordered Guzman Lopez released to avoid further bloodshed. 

A Jefferson Park Smoke Shop owner and operator has defeated charges that he unlawfully sold drugs to undercover officers. The owner was facing four counts, two felonies, and two misdemeanors. The man was accused of selling marijuana from his smoke shop but confessed only to smoking marijuana. 

Separately, building inspectors shut down the building that the owner was operating out of. As of right now, the smoke shop is shut down and will not be reopening. The landlord claims that he tossed the tenant due to his legal troubles. The tenant claims that building inspectors shut down the building due to rotten columns. As it stands, the tenant is correct. The building was cited for rotting or broken columns, a lack of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, and improperly stored flammable materials. All of that would be on the landlord and not the tenant. 

Suspect Victim of Hate Crime

It does not happen as often as it should, but sometimes, corporations face criminal charges related to their conduct. Pharmacy chains such as Walgreens and CVS have recently been targeted by state governments for contributing to the opioid epidemic. The drug chains are accused of dispersing hundreds of thousands of pills per week which were then diverted to pill mills. Massive upticks in opioid medication distribution did not trigger red flags for anyone involved. The chains are accused of knowingly helping cause the epidemic.

State governments have filed criminal and civil charges against various corporations and their executives, some of whom were given decades-long prison sentences for their role in distributing pills to black-market merchants. CVS settled a similar lawsuit for a reported $870 million. Walgreens is facing a similar judgment if they lose at trial. Meanwhile, Perdue Pharmaceutical has reached a tentative $6 billion with the U.S. government with much of the money paid directly by the Sackler family, which owns the company. 

The case against Walgreens

A Chicago-area man has been sentenced to 18 years after the deaths of four of his customers due to overdose. The statute under which he was charged is meant to hold drug dealers accountable for the overdose deaths caused by their products. While the law makes sense in some ways, it fails to account for the millions of opioid deaths caused by pharmaceutical companies who lied about their product, facilitated its entry into the black market, and profited in the range of billions from the lives they destroyed. In some cases, these executive drug dealers are facing racketeering charges for knowingly funneling thousands of doses to locations with small populations. The orders to these locations were so large that even if every member of the community had a prescription, it would still be too much. These orders were, of course, diverted to the black market. Executives have faced criminal prosecutions based on what they knew or should have known about the orders. Nonetheless, not one of them is facing a first-degree reckless homicide charge.

Understanding the Law

The Chicago man has been charged under Wisconsin Statutes 940.02. The relevant portion of the statute reads as follows:

Two men meet in rehab. Neither is ready to commit to a life of sobriety. The one man sells the other man drugs or arranges for him to get access to drugs, and that man dies. Now, the other man is facing homicide charges. He is convicted of giving the other man a fatal dose of drugs. He pleads guilty and is sentenced to seven years.

Prosecutions such as these are becoming more popular and increasing the risk to drug dealers or even those who procure drugs from a drug dealer to deliver to a friend who is going to share the drugs with them. In this case, the victim’s parents pushed police to investigate the overdose as a homicide. Police were able to recover cell phone exchanges between the two men. Importantly, one exchange involved the victim complaining that he believed he overpaid for his drugs. The defendant responded by telling him he had given him the correct amount and the correct change. 

The Controversy Surrounding This Law

The federal government has seized a private plane and 100 kilograms of cocaine from a suspected Mexico-to-Chicago pipeline. 80 kilos were seized from a vehicle in Chicago and another 20 were found in a hotel room. The plane was seized as part of the investigation. Authorities believe that the plane made its way to the Gary International Airport by way of Houston. The drugs were eventually found here in Chicago. Three men are now facing charges related to drug trafficking

Private Jets and Drug Trafficking

Despite the cost of private jets, they are becoming much more popular among cartels and other traffickers. Private jets can look like personal business jets, so they provide good cover in plain sight. In many cases, these planes are coming from Brazil, which has been red-flagged as a major narco hotspot after mechanics found cocaine on a plane that had radioed for help. 

Most people have a grave misunderstanding of entrapment and how useless it is as a defense in court. Most folks believe that the cops cannot “generate crime.” They can. In fact, they do it as a part of sting operations all the time.

In one case, a federal agent let it slip that he was sitting on a stash of cocaine bricks valued at about $2 million. He got a few associates to help him with the stash, but they were all arrested for criminal conspiracy and drug trafficking. One of the crew was a recovering heroin addict who could not afford to go into recovery although his health was failing. The addict was charged with two weapons violations, even though he never touched a gun, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The amount of cocaine was high enough to trigger a mandatory 10-year sentence under federal guidelines.

Now, you may be inclined to think that the story above is entrapment, but it is not. Even though there was no real crime, all the drugs belonged to the ATF, and the men would not have been there but for an ATF agent telling his drinking buddies that he had a goldmine, all the men will be charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine they did not know existed until the ATF agent told them.

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. 

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”?

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