Tricks of the Trade: Planes, Trains & automobiles

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Tricks of the Trade: Planes, Trains & automobiles

Just thought i share a few things since it ties into upcoming trial of Vicentillo. The indictment pending against Zambada Niebla claims he served as the “logistical coordinator” for the “cartel,” helping to oversee an operation that imported into the U.S. “multi-ton quantities of cocaine … using various means, including but not limited to, Boeing 747 cargo aircraft, private aircraft … buses, rail cars, tractor trailers, and automobiles.”  

Below are just a few of the tactics used by cartels to smuggle drugs into Chicago a major hub for these groups.

Railroad logistics

US seizes nearly 11 tons of marijuana aboard train from Mexico

Nov. 17,2010 CBP officers in Eagle Pass, Texas, discovered that a Union Pacific train bound for Chicago Heights was carrying about 21,800 pounds of suspected marijuana. During the inspection, CBP officers observed a number of large bundled packages, referred to as "super sacks," in six cars on the train. In total, CBP officers observed that about 109 super sacks in the train cars contained cubic bundles comprised of a green leafy substance. Officers weighed 13 of the cubic bundles from one super sack and determined that they weighed about 200 pounds.

The bill of lading associated with these cars stated that they contained 58 super sack packages in each train car, or a total of about 340 super sacks. The shipping documents stated that the super sacks contained packages listed as "TITANIUM PIGMENTS OR." The documents further stated that the train cars were loaded and sent by a company called Comercializadora De Minerale, located in Jalisco, Mexico, and were being imported by a company called Earth Minerals Corp. in Rockdale, Ill.

Commercial Airlines

Cocaine Shipment Found on Airliner
Source: The Chicago Tribune
April 30, 2007
Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection found about 330 bricks of cocaine  on an Aeromexico flight from Guadalajara, Mexico.Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection found about 330 bricks of cocaine in four small cardboard boxes on an Aeromexico flight from Guadalajara, Mexico.

A routine inspection uncovered more than 700 pounds of cocaine in the cargo hold of an airplane at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The drugs, with an estimated street value of about $6.7 million, were aboard an Aeromex flight from Guadalajara, Mexico, which landed Friday night, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday. The cocaine was found during an inspection of the cargo hold by officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The four boxes containing the cocaine were not listed on the cargo manifest. The 330 bricksbricks of cocaine were found in the commercial airliner's cargo compartment during a routine inspection of baggage, officials said. The bricks were wrapped in cellophane, soaked in axle grease and covered with rubber and packaging tape, officials said. The drugs have a street value of about $6.7 million. The four small cardboard boxes in which the cocaine was found were not included on the cargo listing. Officials said the seizure is under investigation, and no arrests had been made late Saturday.
Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection found the drugs on an Aeromexico flight from Guadalajara, Mexico, which landed at 11 p.m., officials said.

Small aircraft tactics
High-flying cartel planned to smuggle drugs through small suburban airport, DEA says
Suspect likely chose Bolingbrook field for its lack of law enforcement, agent says

February 13, 2013|By Steve Schmadeke, Chicago Tribune reporter
At a meeting in a Chicago business last spring, the leaders of a drug trafficking organization allegedly made a lucrative offer to an informant posing as a pilot.

Jose Mares-Barragan, 31, and another unidentified drug leader told the informant they had tons of cocaine ready to ship and the pilot could make almost $40,000 flying 25 kilos on a light aircraft from California to the small airport in Bolingbrook, according to a charging document. They also offered $500,000 per flight to take massive amounts of cocaine between South and Central America, where they said the narcotics would be loaded and unloaded by government workers, court records show.

"If he wants to go big, we can go big," Mares-Barragan, who allegedly worked for the Sinaloa cartel, said at the recorded meeting. The drug ring also allegedly discussed in an unrecorded conversation using a plane to move millions of dollars a month in cash from Australia to the U.S. to buy cocaine to sell back in Australia, court records show. Mares-Barragan, of Castaic, Calif., was arrested after the informant agreed to bring 26 kilos of cocaine into Clow International Airport, apparently on the same weekend it was hosting its 12th annual Cavalcade of Planes, a regional festival that draws thousands of airplane enthusiasts.

Clow airport, situated just yards from strip malls and subdivisions typical of Chicago's suburbs, seems an unlikely hub for a large drug trafficking operation. But there's a growing use of smaller airports by regional drug rings hoping to move large amounts of narcotics, said Jack Riley, the Drug Enforcement Administration's special agent in charge of its Chicago division.

"Really we're beginning to see that more and more domestically," he said. "Of course, the Mexican organizations will move it across the border virtually any way possible. But the regional organizations are moving dope and money into smaller airports where there's really less law enforcement and most of them don't even file a flight plan. It's very effective."

The use of aircraft rarely forms the basis for charges in federal drug trafficking cases, which typically involve drugs hidden in semi trucks, cars or even people. In this case, the pilot was to fly to Bolingbrook on a June weekend and return to California with bundles of cash for the Mexican suppliers. DEA agents arranged the pickup of the cocaine in Palm Desert, Calif., and then at some point swapped it for sham narcotics, which were stuffed into a black duffel bag.

Two people were arrested at the airport in Bolingbrook and agreed to cooperate with authorities. Agents also arrested a man, who did drug deals from a "Mr. Sandman" email address, who wanted to buy 13 kilos, records show.

Charging documents allege Mares-Barragan wrote emails saying he was "stressing big time" over the shipment to Bolingbrook and that his supplier asked him to take 40 kilos but he only felt comfortable with 26 "because it's too much if something happens."His attorney, Paul Brayman, declined comment on the pending case.

Refrigerated Commercial Truck tactics  

Holy guacamole--what a bust
Cocaine hidden inside buckets of avocado dip
September 23, 2003|By Brett McNeil, Tribune staff reporter.

Chicago police have seen cocaine smuggled in a lot of ingenious ways, but until last week they'd never seen it buried in guacamole dip.

After discovering what they estimated to be $39 million worth of high-grade cocaine hidden inside a shipment of Mexican avocado pulp last Friday, police arrested four men who have since been charged with drug possession.
Acting on a tip, Chicago narcotics investigators arrested Ernesto Garcia Diaz, 37, of the 5400 block of South Christiana Avenue, and three accomplices shortly after the men allegedly loaded up a rented flatbed truck with 180 buckets of frozen guacamole at an Addison warehouse Friday afternoon. Police found another 760 tubs of the green goop at a warehouse in Addison.

Inside each bucket, stuffed down under handfuls of thawing guacamole goop, was a carefully wrapped 2-kilo brick of cocaine, said Chicago Police Cmdr. Wayne Wiberg.

"This came right through the border," Wiberg said while standing in front of the still-bundled kilos at a Monday afternoon news conference.

Police have seen drugs smuggled into the United States in bags of coffee, sealed in concrete Our Lady of Guadalupe statues, and secreted away inside bundles of plywood and drywall--but they've never before seen the popular chip dip used to such nefarious ends, Wiberg said.

"How many times have they done this? That's a good question," he said.

Police received a tip that Diaz, whom they identified as the group's ringleader, would be receiving a shipment of cocaine and on Friday followed Diaz to Elite Truck Rental, near Western Avenue and Fulton Street, where he rented the truck.

Diaz used a false name to rent out the warehouse space a week before the bust for $1,000, and he was behind the wheel when police stopped the truck in Glendale Heights, said Chicago narcotics Sgt. Juan Rivera.

If convicted, Diaz and his cohorts face a mandatory minimum sentence of between 15 and 60 years, according to DuPage County State's Atty. Joe Birkett, whose office will prosecute the cases.

The others arrested are: Eduardo Rodriguez Blancarte, 21, Felizardo Novoa Elizondo, 45, both Mexican nationals, and Servando Negrete Gentil, 43, of the 2800 block of South Spaulding Avenue in Chicago.

Birkett said Monday that he intends to seek upgraded charges against all four men that would carry minimum mandatory sentences of between 30 and 120 years in prison.

Wiberg said police do not know specifically where the drugs came from in Mexico or where they were to be distributed. He said they likely were sent to Chicago by a cartel based in Jalisco, Mexico

Melrose Park raid yields 550 pounds of cocaine, authorities say
$25 million haul called largest in 7 years for Cook County sheriff's police
August 12, 2008|By James Kimberly, Tribune reporter
In one of its largest drug seizures in years, a Cook County sheriff's team recovered 550 pounds of cocaine worth $25 million from a semi truck in the parking lot of a Melrose Park plant, authorities said.

The announcement from the sheriff's police drug unit came Monday, the same day that bail was set at $1 million each for the three men arrested and charged in the bust.

"This is a significant seizure for law enforcement. This puts a dent in the trafficking of cocaine in the city of Chicago and the Midwest area," said Cook County Sheriff's Police spokeswoman Penny Mateck.

Jose Reyes, 49, of the 100 block of Country Court, Bolingbrook; Cosme Ruano-Reyes, 36, of the 3100 block of South Keeler Avenue, Chicago; and Javier Huerta, 47, of El Paso, Texas, were arrested and each charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, Mateck said.

The three were arrested Saturday morning in the parking lot of Reyes' Melrose Park business, Solar Deburring Inc., at 2001 Cornell Ave., she said.

The sheriff's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team -- composed of sheriff's deputies, federal drug-enforcement agents and police officers from Chicago, Palos Park and Rolling Meadows -- made the bust after getting a tip, Mateck said. Melrose Park police assisted with the operation, she said.

The drugs came from the southwest border of the United States and were to be distributed throughout the Midwest, said Mateck, who added that Chicago is the Midwest hub for illegal drug distribution.

The drugs were stashed in a refrigerated trailer inside frozen boxes of cattle hooves to be used for meat. Mateck said officers were suspicious of the shipment because "there did not seem to be any type of legitimate business connection" between a plant that grinds burrs off of metal parts and a shipment of frozen meat.

Officers watched as three men retrieved the cocaine from packages in the trailer and one of them cut one open to confirm its contents, police said.

Mateck said it was the sheriff police's largest drug bust in seven years.

Exploiting the areas large importation of fresh produce from Mexico
Raiders Net Millions, Ton Of Cocaine
May 28, 1998|By Matt O'Connor, Tribune Staff Writer.
Authorities said Wednesday they have seized more than 1 1/2 tons of cocaine and several million dollars in cash by cracking a drug ring that shipped narcotics to Chicago in 18-wheelers and used a West Side produce company as a drop-off point.

One suspect was caught red-handed carrying a large duffel bag filled with cash outside his Southwest Side home, officials said. Inside the residence, Drug Enforcement Administration agents said they discovered some $5 million in mostly small bills.

Officials said the agents also found almost 2,800 pounds of cocaine packaged in fruit and vegetable crates at Ortiz Produce Co., 2021 W. 18th St., another 462 pounds of cocaine in a Chicago storage facility and about 200 pounds of the drug in a Cicero garage.

Authorities displayed the cache of drugs at a news conference where they announced the arrests of five men in the yearlong investigation. The cocaine, wrapped in 5-kilogram packages, was piled 6 feet high in a corner while the cash filled a long table and tub.

U.S. Atty. Scott Lassar and Joseph A. Vanacora, special agent in charge of the DEA in Chicago, put the wholesale value of the seized cocaine at $31 million.

"It's a significant seizure," Vanacora said. "The seizure of money hurts them more than the seizure of cocaine."

The investigation was led by the DEA and included investigators from the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Chicago Police Department and several suburban police departments.

According to a criminal complaint, three of the defendants--Desi Cano, 46, of Wood Dale; Jorge O'Conner, 31, of Chicago; and Juan Manuel Perez, 39, of Cicero--were arrested Tuesday at the Cicero garage.

About 1 1/2 hours later, authorities pulled over a car that had been under surveillance. Authorities said its occupant, defendant Steven Webber, 29, admitted to them that his cousin ran a drug organization and kept large amounts of cash at their Southwest Side home.

DEA agents later arrested the cousin, Jesse Quintanilla, 29, as he left his home at 6142 S. Kilpatrick Ave. with a duffel bag of cash, according to the complaint.

The agents also found about $5 million in cash inside the house and a drug ledger in Quintanilla's car indicating he had received almost a ton of cocaine during a five-day period earlier this month, according to the complaint.

Wednesday morning, authorities recovered about 1,265 kilograms of cocaine at Ortiz Produce amid a shipment of carrots, authorities said. The business appears to be "a dropoff point for large shipments of cocaine coming up from Mexico," Vanacora said
"Great minds have purpose, others have wishes" - Washington Irvin
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Re: Tricks of the Trade: Planes, Trains & automobiles

Darnell Sheridan Lancaster Jr

Please grab some reports on the Harris Bank of.Chicago where Zambadas Casa de cambio dropped in 2.7 million trying to buy more planes. I would love to see any kind of bank documents or any penalties they may have faced.
Also please drop some Intel on how VZ tried to hire GDs to kill off the Flores bros. But they couldn't cuz the Flores bros are in protective seg.

Check my post on VZ Money mover.

Los Lancasters
Alumni de Malverde Univ.
Comandante Darryl
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Re: Tricks of the Trade: Planes, Trains & automobiles


I was just about to ask you for more info on Harris Bank in your other thread too!

About the Flores bros. The rumor was he did try to get some GDs to off the brothers in seg, but supposedly the GDs went to the authorities instead because they wanted to cut a deal and shave off some time from their own sentences....He should have tried to talk with some of the Latin gangs instead of the blacks. One of the Latin gangs made news last week as they had created their own hit squad and had a list of Sheriff's department people they wanted to take out inside Cook Count jail...