Midway Customs Officers Arrested on Drug Charges
By Rachelle Bowden in News on Oct 20, 2004 11:57AM
Two Midway customs officers are among 20 people accused of being a part of a drug ring that smuggled millions of dollars in heroin, cocaine and marijuana from Mexico. Officials said the officers, both from Chicago, used law enforcement databases to find out if any members of the drug ring were being investigated. Federal agents also say that in early 2003, they arrested a person who'd just left one of the customs agents' house. On him was over $300,000. The agents face 10 years to life in prison if convicted.
15 other people were arrested and 5 are at large. The DEA says the ring leader, based out of LA, distributed 150 kilo of cocain, 5,000 lbs of marijuana, and 10 lbs of crystal meth every month. And the ring smartly laundered the proceeds of their drug sales through real estate transactions and a used car business. Besides LA and Chicago, drugs were also sold in NY and Milwaukee.
Special Agent Richard W. Sanders says, "We've successfully plugged a significant pipeline of drugs to Chicago and halted the flow of cash back to the suppliers."
Officials said the investigation begain in 2003 with a traffic stop in TX. Cops seized $2.2 million and it lead to wiretaps in LA and Chicago. Drug smuggling and money laundering investigations followed and resulted in 83 arrests so far. We hear the investigation was code named "Operation Money Clip."