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Federal drug trafficking charges brought against 23 persons

The Chicago Police Department and the DEA spearheaded an 18-count, 262-page federal criminal complaint filed in a U.S. District Court in Chicago. The sweep was a combined effort of numerous Illinois and federal agencies. There were 23 people targeted for arrest, and 21 were found as of the last report. They were hit with drug trafficking charges relating to distributing large amounts of heroin and cocaine in Illinois and two nearby states.

Authorities report seizing unspecified quantities of heroin, crack cocaine, ecstasy, tens-of-thousands of dollars, and two guns. They executed eleven search warrants at nine residences and in two vehicles. Under federal sentencing guidelines, a sentence on a drug conviction is computed with a formula that counts the amount of drugs involved. That procedure will probably expose the accused individuals to large sentences, although much information remains to be seen prior to making such determinations.

The United States Attorney said that those arrested were not charged with violence or gang activity. He concluded, however, his belief that bringing serious drug trafficking charges like these is an effective tool in combating violence. Unlike many hastily-organized announcements of drug sweeps, this report made the detailed complaint available so that intricate details of each drug charge and the various alleged drug operations are revealed. In several instances, there are details provided describing the purchase of significant amounts of drugs by undercover agents or informants from those accused.

With specific details of undercover purchases, criminal defense counsel will have their work cut out for them. This will be a prosecution dealing with federal law regarding drug trafficking and not the criminal law of Illinois. That also creates an even tougher road due to very low acquittal rates for federal drug trials. That makes it crucial for an accused to meet with experienced defense counsel quickly to see what kinds of options for either trial or pre-trial disposition of the charges may be available.

Source: wane.com, "Chicago drug bust nets 23 arrests, two from Fort Wayne," Rod Hissong, June 21, 2013

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