23 charged in heroin, cocaine distribution ring - FOX 32 News Chicago

23 charged in heroin, cocaine distribution ring

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A total of 21 people suspected of supplying heroin and cocaine in the Chicago area -- including Indiana and Wisconsin -- have been arrested in Chicago in the culmination of a joint federal-local investigation.

Law enforcement officers executed 11 search warrants on nine Chicago homes and two vehicles Thursday, and arrested 21 of 23 people suspected of supplying heroin and cocaine in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.

All 23 had previously been charged with possession with intent to distribute or distribution of narcotics in an 18-count criminal complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. The complaint was the result of a Chicago Police and U.S. DEA investigation that started last fall.

The complaint claims Michael Whiting, 31; his brother Antonio Whiting, 27; Michael Coleman, 31; Corey Minnifield, 31; and Charles "Chuck" James, 35, were wholesale heroin suppliers. Whiting purchased the heroin from Jimmy Serrano, 24, and sold it to customers, including Vonzayne Davis, 42; and Richard "Unc" Hicks, 52.

Michael Whiting kept the drugs at a stash house he shared with cocaine wholesale supplier James in the 2400 block of West Adams Street, the complaint said.

Between November 2012 and April 2013, the Whiting brothers are accused of selling about a 1/2 pound of heroin to a cooperating witness and undercover agent, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Jameson Hamlin, 39; Eduardo Rivera, 35; Daniel Vazquez, 30; and Ladell Smith, 27, supplied the cocaine to James, who sold it to customers including Michael Starnes, 35; Melissa Belcher, 24; and Malcom Harris, 28, the complaint said.

Additionally, wholesale cocaine dealer Vazquez had a stash house in an apartment in the 3100 block of North Lake Shore Drive, the complaint said. Vazquez purchased the cocaine from Eric "E" Paskon, 32; and hired Francisco "Pops" Mireles, 33; Anwer "BZ" Shahbaz, 32; and Angel "Hellboy" Perez, 27, to sell it to customers including Brandon Elsing, 29; Neftali "Lucky" Frytes, 28; and Nicolas Franco, 28

Also charged was Cory Griffin, 32, of Milwaukee, Wis., according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Since the investigation began, authorities seized three pounds of heroin and nine pounds of cocaine, the U.S. Attorney's office said. Authorities also seized crack cocaine, ecstasy, more than $10,000 in cash and two guns during the execution of the warrants.

All 21 defendants remain in federal custody pending detention hearings next week.

The charges against all but five carry a mandatory 5-40 years in prison if convicted, the U.S. Attorney's office said. There is also a maximum $5 million fine.

Vazquez, Mireless, Shahbaz, Perez and Davis face more serious sentences or fines.

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