Officials have charged nine men for their roles in a cocaine importing and distribution ring after an investigation by state and federal authorities.
The six-month investigation dubbed "Luna Azul" or "Blue Moon" focused on the ring which operated near Midway Airport on the Southwest Side, according to a press release issued by Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.
The investigation used electronic surveillance that allowed officers to record several "significant" cocaine sales, Alvarez said.
Officials said that in 2010 investigators identified Luciano Chavarin, 39, of Chicago as a member of the organization which smuggled in shipments of cocaine to Chicago. Chavarin worked with Santiago Gonzalez, 42, also of Chicago who would arrange sales of the drugs to local people.
The men allegedly used "trap cars" which are automobiles with hidden compartments built into them to stash the drugs. The cars would be used to carry several kilos of cocaine and exchange the car with another "trap car" carrying cash which was supplied by the customers.
Officials managed to use the electronic surveillance to monitor three transactions which occurred on the 5400 block of South Hamlin Avenue; the 3200 block of West 53rd Street; and the 3900 block of West 47th Street near Midway Airport in the Gage Park and west Elsdon neighborhoods, officials said. Police recovered about $250,000 in cash.
Gonzalez and Chavarin were arrested Wednesday along with four other men. Two others were already in custody on state and federal charges. A ninth man is being sought, officials said. All are charged with criminal drug conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. If convicted they face up to 60 years in prison.
The operation was conducted by members of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency or Hidta, members of the drug enforcement administration Chicago police and the Cook County state's Attorney's narcotics prosecutions bureau.Copyright © 2015, CT Now