More than a dozen people, most of them police officers, were charged Tuesday, accused of acting as lookouts during drug deals and poker games, and in some cases, dealing drugs themselves.
The charges against 10 Cook County Sheriff's Office Correctional officers, four Village of Harvey police officers and a Chicago police officer, were announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and were the result of a sweeping undercover investigation by the FBI.
In all, charges were brought against 17 people.
In May, jail guards Ahyetoro Taylor and Raphael Manuel accompanied someone they thought brokered large-scale drug transactions but was really an undercover FBI agent, charges allege.
A twin-propeller plane landed at the west suburban DuPage Airport, where they boarded and began counting what they thought was 80 kilograms of cocaine stashed in four duffel bags, according to federal authorities.
They allegedly took the bags to the undercover FBI agent's car and watched as another undercover agent pulled up in a Mercedes, took the bags and drove off.
Taylor and Manuel took $4,000 each, authorities said.
In August, Harvey police officer Archie Stallworth accompanied an undercover agent to the DuPage Airport and accepted $1,000 after handling three duffel bags purportedly containing 30 kilograms of cocaine, the charges allege.
"It’s kinda suspect, you walk in, he come in with three bags, you walk out with three bags. He go this way, you go that way. In an airport, that’s probably cause. It arouses suspicion," Stallworth allegedly said, not knowing his conversation with the undercover agent was being recorded.
In another conversation, he also allegedly talked about the best way to exchange drugs without arousing suspicion.
"The best spot for ya’ll to do that, believe it or not, is the train station. Fast food places, that’s where we (law enforcement) be looking. Sit there all day or they set up surveillance cameras," a separate affidavit, attached to the complaint against him, said.
According to the common affidavit, the undercover agent paid a total of $44,000 to 16 of the defendants, not including an additional $1,000 to Stallworth.
The largest shares allegedly were paid to Taylor ($15,000) and Manuel ($14,500), respectively, for providing security during alleged drug transactions. The "deals" involving the agent’s purported drug sources and customers -- all of whom were undercover FBI agents -- typically occurred in retail and hotel parking lots in the south suburbs of Homewood, Tinley Park, Oak Lawn, Matteson and Bolingbrook and were captured on audio and video recordings by the undercover and surveillance agents.
In each instance, the undercover agent allegedly would determine that each officer was carrying a firearm and advised them that they were providing protection for transfers of narcotics, providing the specific amount of purported cocaine and/or heroin that was involved. The undercover agent would then pay each defendant after each transaction was completed.
After establishing an allegedly corrupt relationship with Taylor and Manuel, the agent typically contacted them and asked them to recruit a specific number of other officers to work each security detail, the charges allege. The undercover agent also would meet with the members of each crew beforehand to discuss the quantity and type of drugs that were purportedly being transferred.
Cook county Sheriff Tom Dart said that each of the men charged has been suspended with pay pending a hearing next week, where his office will request that each be suspended without pay. He will then request for their termination.
Dart said that his own investigators suspected wrong-doing on behalf of the correctional officers in January of this year. They then learned that the FBI had been investigating the same men since the previous August.
"The Harvey Police Department and the City of Harvey do not condone any type of corruption or illegal activity," acting Police Chief D. Eaves said in a press release. "Law enforcement officers are sworn to uphold the laws of the State of Illinois and of the United States and should be held to a higher standard."
Eaves reiterated that the department takes the oath of the badge "very seriously" and that he will be moving for immediate disciplinary action against all of the officers and employees involved.
Taylor and another suspect, Jermaine Bell, are currently serving with the Illinois National Guard in Afghanistan and will be arrested there.
The following lists the eight separate cases and defendants charged in each complaint:
United States v. Raphael Manuel and Jermaine Bell
Raphael Manuel allegedly accepted a total of $14,500 for providing security for eight separate staged drug transactions, including one on Sept. 14, 2007, with Ahyetoro Taylor and Jermaine Bell, who allegedly accepted $500 for working a single staged deal on that date.
United States v. Tavis Ramsey and Kyle T. Wilson
Tavis Ramsey allegedly accepted a total of $1,900 for providing security for four separate purported drug transactions, including one on Oct. 24, 2007, with Ahyetoro Taylor, Raphael Manuel and Kyle Wilson, 31, of Chicago and a Chicago police officer, who allegedly accepted $500 for working a single staged deal.
United States v. Timothy Funches, Jr., and Diallo S. Mingo
Timothy Funches, 26, of Bellwood and Diallo Mingo, 34, of Calumet City, both of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, allegedly accepted $1,000 each for providing security with Ahyetoro Taylor and Raphael Manuel for a single purported transaction involving 50 kilograms of cocaine and 2 kilograms of heroin on Nov. 16, 2007.
United States v. Ahyetoro Taylor, Antwon Funches and Antonio B. McCaskill
Ahyetoro Taylor allegedly accepted a total of $15,000 for providing security for nine separate staged drug transactions, including one on Nov. 30, 2007, with Raphael Manuel, Antwon Funches, 34, of Chicago, a Cook County Sheriff’s officer, and Antonio McCaskill, 30, of Harvey, who is not a law enforcement officer, with the latter two allegedly accepting $1,000 each for working a single staged deal.
United States v. Daniel L. Lee and Julius L. Scott, Jr.
Daniel Lee, 31, of Chicago, and Julius Scott, 34, of Richton Park, both of Cook County Sheriff’s Office, allegedly accepted $1,000 each for providing security with Ahyetoro Taylor and Raphael Manuel for a single purported transaction involving two kilograms of heroin on Dec. 10, 2007.
United States v. Richard O. Hall, Jr., and Robert L. Kelly, Jr.
Richard Hall, 35, of Chicago, and Robert Kelly, 32, of Glenwood, both of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, allegedly accepted $1,000 each for providing security with Ahyetoro Taylor and Raphael Manuel for a single purported transaction involving two kilograms of heroin on Dec. 17, 2007.
United States v. Dudley, Engram and Williams
In events described above, Dwayne Williams allegedly received a total of $1,400, including $400 for a May 2007 security escort, and Williams and James Engram received $1,000 each, and Antoine Dudley accepted $1,200, the charges allege, for providing security for a purported transaction involving 25 kilograms of cocaine on Feb. 29, 2008.
United States v. Archie Stallworth
Archie Stallworth allegedly received $1,000 for providing security for the purported transfer of 30 kilograms of cocaine at the DuPage Airport on Aug. 11, 2008.
The Government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys April Perry and M. David Weisman.
If convicted of conspiracy to possess and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and/or one kilogram of heroin, faces a mandatory minium sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison and a maximum fine of $4 million.