20 Charged in Federal Drug, Gun Probe in Chicago

Twenty people are facing drug and gun trafficking charges after authorities seized illegal drugs and several weapons, including an AK-47, from the Little Village neighborhood on the Southwest Side.

Many of the arrests were made Wednesday, and concluded two federal and state investigation into weapons and drug trafficking in the Chicago area, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago.

“Guns and drugs are driving the violence in many of our neighborhoods,” Illinois State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a statement. “This coordinated and joint effort today with our law enforcement partners shows that we are all committed to ensuring public safety.”

The DEA-led investigation began in 2017 with the cooperation of state and local agencies, according to the attorney’s office. That investigation, along with a second one headed by the FBI, resulted in the seizure of 445 grams of heroin, 230 grams of cocaine and $97,770 in illegal drug proceeds. They also seized a pickup truck and 20 illegal firearms, including six rifles.

One grand jury indictment charges 26-year-old Jose Garcia-Arroyo, nicknamed “Mexico”, with seven counts of selling cocaine and heroin in Chicago last year. Also included in the indictment is Jasmin “Jazzy” Garcia, 24, of Chicago, who was charged with selling cocaine on Aug. 29, 2017, and Carlos Chavez, 32, of Romeoville, who was charged with selling heroin on Oct. 18, 2017.

Joel “Wedo” Andrade, 27, of Chicago, was charged with selling over 100 grams of heroin on May 29, 2018 in west suburban Cicero, according to one indictment.

Several gun charges, including transporting them illegally across state lines, were included in the federal indictments resulting from the FBI-led investigation.

Anthony “Capone” Mendez, 21, of Melrose Park, was charged with possessing an illegal AK-47 rifle in west suburban Elmwood Park in November 2016, and a .40 caliber pistol in Feb. 2017.

Arturo “Two-Four” Gonzalez, 35, was accused of possessing and transporting an illegal .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle. Fausto Gonzalez, 27, of Chicago, nicknamed “Spanish Harlem” and “Chino”, was charged with possessing and transporting a 12-gauge shotgun and .40 caliber pistol.

One indictment charges 25-year-old Jonathan Paniagua, also known as “Lil’ Hustler”, of Bolingbrook, with engaging “in the business of dealing in firearms” while not being a licensed dealer between June and September 2017.

Oscar “Stretch” Hernandez, 37, of Chicago, was charged with selling cocaine and illegally possessing and transporting a Colt .45 caliber revolver and a .380 caliber pistol. Hector Sanchez, 23, of Chicago, was accused of unlawfully dealing firearms without a license between January and September 2017.

The federal investigations follow a number of recent drug and gun trafficking busts in Chicago. More than a dozen people were charged in April with trafficking drugs out of a Little Village auto body shop. Authorities seized nearly $60,000 in cash and a dozen firearms, in addition to the heroin, fentanyl, MDMA and cocaine that were stashed at the body shop.

In June, more than 50 people were charged in “Operation Fat Chance” which seized heroin, cocaine and fentanyl from the Lawndale and East Garfield Park neighborhoods on the West Side. Investigators shut down two open-air drug markets and seized a semi-automatic rifle with a drum barrel magazine.

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