Additional information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office concerning accomplishments during the last twelve months:
Carjacking and Robbery Prosecutions
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office works closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to prosecute violent crimes, such as carjacking, that violate federal law,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.
o ELIAS QUINONES-FIGUEROA, of Chicago, was charged last month with carjacking a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe sport-utility vehicle from a victim in the city’s West Town neighborhood in May. Quinones-Figueroa allegedly brandished a handgun during the carjacking. The probe was led by FBI and CPD, with assistance from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
o In August, MICHAEL C. PEARSON, of Chicago, was charged with carjacking a 2006 Buick Lucerne from two victims in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. Pearson allegedly discharged a handgun during the carjacking, but fortunately neither victim was wounded. The case was investigated by FBI and CPD, with assistance from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
o DARIUS D. YOUNG, of Berwyn, was arrested on a federal criminal charge for allegedly robbing a United Parcel Service delivery truck in Oak Park in August. The driver was ordered to lay face down in the street while Young and two others allegedly removed boxes from the truck and drove off. FBI and the Oak Park Police Department participated in the investigation.
o A federal jury in November convicted IVAN PARKER, of Chicago, of robbing an ATM technician at gunpoint in the city’s Little Village neighborhood. Parker pointed a handgun at the technician’s head and used pepper spray on him before grabbing a bag containing $106,335. Parker is awaiting sentencing. FBI led the probe.
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Other Significant Drug Trafficking Prosecutions
The U.S. Attorney’s Office targets traffickers who bring illegal drugs into Illinois from other states or countries, with a focus on organizations or individuals who use guns, violence and threats of violence to protect and promote their illegal businesses. The U.S. Attorney’s Office works directly with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to ensure that individuals trafficking drugs are charged with appropriate offenses in either federal or state court.
o In “Operation Dirty Ice,” 13 defendants were charged this summer with participating in a drug trafficking operation that distributed at least 25 kilograms of heroin to customers in Chicago. The street-level sales allegedly occurred at two open-air drug markets in the city’s Austin neighborhood. The investigation was conducted by FBI, IRS-CI, and CPD.
o In July, five individuals were charged as part of an FBI and CPD investigation into cocaine trafficking in the West Ridge neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side.
o FELIPE CABRERA SARABIA, a former high-ranking member of the Sinaloa drug cartel, was extradited to Chicago from Mexico in June to face federal drug charges. Cabrera Sarabia is accused of conspiring with other Sinaloa Cartel members to transport multi-ton quantities of illegal drugs into the U.S. DEA and IRS-CI conducted the probe.
o Ten defendants were charged in May as part of a DEA-led investigation that disrupted a Mexico-to-Chicago cocaine pipeline. The alleged drug sales occurred in the South Loop and Streeterville neighborhoods of Chicago, as well as suburban locations.
o A federal jury in March convicted a Chinese national of laundering illegal narcotics proceeds on behalf of drug traffickers in Mexico. XIANBING GAN schemed to have $534,206 in narcotics proceeds picked up in Chicago and transferred to various bank accounts in China, in order for the money to ultimately be remitted to the Mexican traffickers. Gan is awaiting sentencing. HSI and IRS-CI conducted the probe.
o A suburban man was sentenced in November to 15 years in prison for his role in transporting various narcotics into the United States from China and selling it on the streets of Chicago. NESTOR BURGOS, of River Grove, also possessed two handguns and a silencer in furtherance of his drug trafficking activities. HSI and USPIS conducted the probe.
The revitalized PSN program continues to invest resources in violence-prevention initiatives. Members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office have participated in offender notification meetings and youth outreach forums. Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, these meetings and forums are still being held, including in a virtual environment, to maintain the outreach to former offenders.
Offender notification meetings provide an opportunity for individuals who have been convicted of a state or federal offense to make an informed choice not to engage in further criminal activity. Researchers at Arizona State University found that the forums have a positive influence on the offenders’ perception of police and help create an understanding that criminal activity results in a higher risk to return to prison. Researchers at Yale University found that ex-offenders who attend an offender notification meeting in Chicago are 30% less likely to commit a new offense than those who did not attend a meeting.
The quarterly youth forums assist children aged 13-17 to identify a path other than gang membership. The youth forums are conducted in partnership with CPD, the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and the University of Chicago Crime Lab, which tracks the progress of the children to assess results.