CHICAGO —(ENEWSPF)–March 31, 2016. More than 15 defendants, including three fathers and their sons, are facing federal or state drug charges for their alleged roles in dealing wholesale amounts of heroin and cocaine in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, authorities announced today.
During the course of the investigation, dubbed “Operation Chicago Storm,” law enforcement agents assigned to the Chicago Strike Force seized more than 100 kilograms of cocaine, nine kilograms of heroin, 14 firearms and $600,000 in narcotics proceeds. Authorities uncovered the criminal activity through the use of wiretapped cellular phones, cooperating witnesses and extensive surveillance.
Fourteen federal defendants were arrested in the past week. Two state defendants have been charged in separate complaints filed in state court.
According to federal criminal complaints and affidavits unsealed after the arrests, the investigation revealed that JULIO MARTINEZ SR. and his son, JULIO MARTINEZ JR., trafficked kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine in the Chicago area, primarily on the Northwest Side of the city. EDWIN DEL VALLE, also known as “Chino,” worked with the Martinezes to supply the narcotics to wholesale customers, the affidavits state. Del Valle allegedly stashed the narcotics in a garage in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago.
Martinez Sr., 54, of Lawrenceville, Ga.; Martinez Jr., 32, of Chicago; and Del Valle, 38, of West Columbia, S.C., are each charged with one count of conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute heroin, and one count of knowingly and intentionally possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute.
Two other sets of father and son were also charged as part of the investigation. JUVENAL MARTINEZ, 66, and his stepson, ISRAEL MARTINEZ, also known as “Chino,” 32, both of Plainfield, were charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Also charged in a cocaine-dealing conspiracy were PHILLIP VEGA, also known as “Moose,” 42, of Berwyn, and his son, JACOB VEGA, 24, of Chicago.
Strike Force agents executing a search warrant as part of the investigation discovered a Glock 17 semiautomatic handgun in the home of Phillip Vega. The search also uncovered 56 rounds of ammunition, 60 grams of cocaine, and a digital scale, according to the affidavits.
Throughout the course of the investigation, authorities surreptitiously recorded numerous drug transactions, including one near the Kennedy Expressway at Armitage Avenue in Chicago. More than 140 grams of cocaine was allegedly sold in that deal by NICHOLAS PADIN, 28, of Chicago, who is charged with both the conspiracy and the possession with intent to distribute.
The charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Dennis A. Wichern, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Eddie T. Johnson, Interim Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department; Anita Alvarez, Cook County State’s Attorney; and James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
The investigation was conducted through the U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Chicago Strike Force, which ― in addition to the DEA, IRS-CID and CPD narcotics officers ― consists of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, and task force officers from various state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Cook County Sheriff’s Police and the Illinois State Police.
Also charged in the complaints with participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin are JOSE RIVERA, 56, of Chicago; and MAURICE HART, also known as “Mo,” 46, of Chicago.
Charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine are ADAM AGUIAR, 41, of Chicago; CHARLES MEDINA, 32, of Chicago; and LUIS MONTES, also known as “Nene,” 47, of Chicago.
The complaints charged LUIS NOCE, also known as “Guido,” 32, of Berwyn, with knowingly possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute.
The public is reminded that complaints contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher J. Stetler and Sean K. Driscoll are representing the government in the federal cases. Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Bronwyn Sears is prosecuting the state cases.