Passport Fraud & Narcotics Trafficking Take-Down in Sting Operation

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:


CHICAGO — A federal investigation of alleged passport fraud and narcotics trafficking by members and associates of the Belizean Bloods street gang operating in Evanston and Chicago has resulted in charges against two dozen defendants, most of whom were arrested here this week, law enforcement officials announced today.

One defendant, Jerry Johnson, who allegedly directed the Belizean Bloods drug-trafficking organization in Chicago, was arrested yesterday in Salt Lake City and is facing federal charges in Chicago.

Five other defendants were arrested, and three guns were seized, Tuesday afternoon in Lyons where they had gathered as part of an alleged conspiracy to rob what they believed was 50 kilograms of cocaine from a different drug organization but which, in fact, was a ruse in an undercover sting operation.

Overall, 10 separate federal complaints were filed and unsealed in U.S. District Court in Chicago after search and arrest warrants were executed Tuesday and yesterday, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

The charges arise from two coordinated investigations, Operation Blood Hound and Operation Black Orchid, which brought together agents from multiple federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the Chicago and Evanston Police Departments and other local partners.

In 2009, the Chicago Field Office of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service began investigating alleged passport fraud by Belizean nationals, while at the same time the FBI and Evanston and Chicago police were investigating alleged narcotics trafficking by suspected members of the Belizean Bloods.

Previously, during the course of the investigations, bulk amounts of powder and crack cocaine, firearms and assault rifles and cash were seized.

Eight additional Belizean nationals were prosecuted for passport fraud and eight others for illegally re-entering the country within the past year in Federal Court in Chicago. Another Belizean national was arrested yesterday in Chicago on passport fraud charges filed in the Southern District of Florida.

Patrick Fitzgerald

“These coordinated efforts demonstrate the commitment and teamwork of all law enforcement agencies in the Chicago area to combat the dangerous combination of gangs, guns and drugs in our community,”

Mr. Fitzgerald said.

Mr. Fitzgerald announced the arrests and charges with Scott Collins, Acting Special-Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service Chicago Field Office; Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Andrew L. Traver, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Chicago; Gary J. Hartwig, Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago; Alvin Patton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago, and Darryl McPherson, the U.S. Marshal in Chicago. They Chicago and Evanston Police Departments played significant roles in the investigation along with other local agencies. The investigations were conducted under the umbrella of U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), and with significant assistance from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA.)

The investigation, which is continuing, relied on undercover purchases of narcotics, surveillance, consensual audio and video recordings, and court-authorized wiretaps of telephone conversations, as well as information provided by multiple cooperating witnesses, including former members and associates of the Belizean Bloods.

According to the charges against Johnson and three others, Johnson’s sources of supply included quantities of narcotics from Belize. He allegedly directed the distribution of powder and crack cocaine and “cooked” powder cocaine to produce crack, which was distributed in wholesale quantities. A cooperating former Belizean Bloods member told agents that Johnson had inherited his father’s drug connections when his father was deported to Belize. The Belizean Bloods narcotics distribution route allegedly included Illinois, Utah, Ohio, Indiana, New York and California.

Johnson, approximately 30, of Chicago and Evanston, also known as “Kaiden Bennett” and “Kalvin Howell,” appeared in Federal Court in Salt Lake City and remains in custody pending a detention hearing tomorrow. Other defendants arrested yesterday in Chicago were scheduled to appear this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys in Federal Court in Chicago.

The five defendants arrested Tuesday afternoon in Chicago appeared before Magistrate Keys yesterday and remain in custody pending detention and preliminary hearings at 9:30 a.m. next Tuesday. Three of them, Myreon Flowers, 39, of Chicago, aka “Diesel;” Anward Trapp, 31, of Chicago, aka “Bernard Gillett,” “Herman Flowers,” and “Smash;” and Rudy Space, 30, of Chicago; were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine for allegedly planning to rob a purported 50 kilograms of cocaine from a purported “stash” garage in Berwyn. The complaint alleges that they were involved in conversations and planning with an undercover agent and a cooperating witness to engage in a purported armed robbery, and shooting if necessary, of three members of a Mexican drug cartel on Tuesday. They were arrested at meeting spot in Lyons as they prepared to descend upon the fictitious stash location. (United States v. Myreon Flowers, et al., 11 CR 779.) Arrested with them were David Flowers, 34, of Chicago, and Duane Jones, 28, of Chicago, aka “Duane Tillett,” and “Dido,” who are facing separate charges of distributing crack cocaine, together with Myreon Flowers and Eric Burnett, 24, of Chicago. (United States v. David Flowers, et al., 11 CR 770.)

Summaries of the remaining cases follow:

United States v. Johnson, et al., (11 CR 763)

Jerry Johnson, together with Sheldon Morales, 30,of Wheeling, an alleged member of the Gangster Disciples street gang who supplied Johnson with powder cocaine; Douglas Wilson, 57,of Evanston; and Tyrita Myers, approximately 24,of Chicago; were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute wholesale quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine between August 2010 and March 2011.

United States v. Ward, (11 CR 764)

Anderson Ward, 29, of Chicago, was charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute in March 2011.

United States v. Gentle and Ellis, (11 CR 766)

William Gentle, 30, of Chicago, and Richard Ellis, 18, of Evanston, were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute crack cocaine between May and July this year.

United States v. Gadson and Walker, (11 CR 767)

Gilbert Gadson, 45, of Chicago, aka “Gilbert Gatson,” and Roy Walker, 52, of Chicago, were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute crack cocaine in January and February this year.

United States v. Glen Flowers, (11 CR 768)

Glen Flowers, 40, of Skokie, aka “Glen Gillett,” “William Powell,” and “Herbert Williams, Jr.” was charged with passport fraud for attempting in December 2010 to fraudulently renew a U.S. passport in the name of Herbert Williams, Jr.

United States v. Gibson and Glen Flowers, (11 CR 769)

The same Glen Flowers was charged with distributing powder cocaine, and Harrington Gibson, 63, of Chicago, aka “Uncle Harry,” was charged with distributing crack cocaine on June 29, 2011.

United States v. Perez, et al., (11 CR 771)

Carlos Perez, 41, of Chicago; Alfredo Castro, age and residence unavailable; and Jonathan Vaughan, 26, of Chicago, were charged with distributing cocaine on Oct. 20, 2011.

United States v. Trapp, et al., (11 CR 772)

Anwar Trapp, together with Wilton Bennett, 29, of Chicago; Marlon Conorquie, 36, of Chicago, aka “Dread;” and Alix Aurele, 37, of Dolton, were charged with distributing crack cocaine or heroin in September and October this year.

The defendants are facing various maximum penalties on the narcotics charges, ranging from a maximum of 20 years in prison to mandatory minimum sentences of either 5 or 10 years to a maximum of 40 years or life in prison, together with maximum fines of $250,000, $2 million or $4 million.

The passport fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by a combination of Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Romero, Meghan Morrissey, Christopher Grohman and Kate Zell.

The public is reminded that charges are merely allegations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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