Seventeen people have been charged in a joint federal and Chicago drug trafficking investigation dubbed "Operation Tragic Blow" that took place over multiple years, law enforcement officials announced Thursday.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Angie Salazar and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced the charges at a joint news conference Thursday morning, calling it a "significant narcotics investigation."
Many of the 17 were arrested Wednesday and charged with federal drug offenses include, per a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office, which listed the defendants as:
- Yarnell Allen, 41, of Dolton
- Ulises Avina, 32, of Chicago
- Oscar Balderama, 42, of Chicago
- Celestino Barahona-Serrano, 38, of Chicago
- Diego Galeana-Gonzaga, 35, of Mexico
- Margarito Galeana-Gomez, 36, of Mexico
- Jose Gonzaga, 58, of Chicago
- Rafael Medellin, Jr., 32, of Chicago
- Richard C. Rincon, 39, of Oak Lawn
- Juan Rosas-Cabrera, 31, of Mexico
- Sergio Sanchez-Chavez, 36, of Mexico
- Francisco Sanchez-Yanez, 32, of Chicago
- Antonio Segura, 39, of Oak Lawn
- Jorge a. Valdez, 40, of Chicago
- Virginia Vazquez-Perez, 37, of Cicero
- Delvin Williams, 42, of Chicago
- Rafael Zarco-Picazo, 33, of Chicago
Prosecutors said the probe entailed "extensive undercover and covert surveillance operations" and resulted in the seizure of "multiple kilograms of heroin and cocaine."
That included 14 kilograms of cocaine seized in January in the city's Belmont Cragin neighborhood and two kilograms of heroin in September in a high-rise apartment building in the Buena Park neighborhood, authorities said.
Two other people were charged in state court as a result of the investigation, officials said.