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Drug trafficker sentenced to prison after sending $56 million back to Mexican cartels

Drug trafficker sentenced to prison after sending $56 million back to Mexican cartels

Luis Eduardo Gonzalez-Garcia oversaw one of Chicago's most lucrative illegal drug operations until he was arrested in 2018

A US drug trafficker has been handed a lengthy prison sentence after sending $56 million back to Mexican cartels.

Operating out of warehouses in the suburbs of Chicago, Luis Eduardo Gonzalez-Garcia, 55, oversaw one of the city’s most lucrative illegal drug operations.

But he has now been sent to prison for three times the length of time his lawyers had asked for.

According to authorities, he had yachts in tropical hotspots, luxury gold watches and SUVs, having grown his wealth through a huge cocaine network by concealing drugs in shipments of laundry detergent, furniture and Mexican snack food.

A press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, said that Gonzalez-Garcia had ‘established a sophisticated network of warehouses and front companies posing as legitimate businesses to distribute the cocaine and launder millions of dollars in proceeds’.

Luis Eduardo Gonzalez-Garcia.

“At Gonzalez Garcia’s direction, the warehouse operators set up front companies and registered them with local governments as if they were legitimate businesses,” it said.

“The companies, which claimed to sell furniture, snack food, laundry detergent, or other items, often operated their own websites and hired employees to conceal the distribution of cocaine through the warehouses.

“The drugs and cash were primarily concealed in box pallets containing the types of goods the front companies purported to sell and then transported from Mexico on semi-trailer trucks driven by unwitting drivers.

“A ‘dirty’ pallet in a typical shipment could contain up to 100 kilograms of cocaine or up to $1.5 million in cash.”

Federal drug agents said Gonzalez-Garcia sent $56 million from his cocaine warehouses in Naperville ($32m) and Arlington Heights ($12m) back to cartel accounts in Mexico.

Earlier this year, Bob Bell, the Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division, spoke to ABC's I-Team about the cartels' connection to the Chicago area.


He said: "There are direct ties to the Mexico based cartels like the Sinaloa cartel and the new generation cartel in Mexico and their direct relationships and direct activity between the cartels and distribution in Chicago."

The cocaine boss had previously asked for a minimum of 10 years in prison, but the sentence he was eventually handed was substantially longer.

After being arrested in 2018 by DEA from Chicago as he boarded a flight in Guatemala City, he has now been sentenced to 30 years behind bars, with Judge Guzman also handing him a $1.5m fine.

In his court filing, Gonzalez-Garcia said he got into the drug trafficking business when his tomato-growing venture went south, claiming he became ‘clouded in bad judgement’.

But Assistant US Attorney Sean J.B. Franzblau argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum: “By successfully laundering tens of millions of drug proceeds back down to himself and his cartel partners in Mexico, defendant not only undoubtedly enriched himself but also enriched the Mexican drug cartels – some of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the world.

“Anyone who is considering partnering with the cartels to move their products from Mexico to the streets of this country must know that they will face the severest of consequences.”

Featured Image Credit: ABC

Topics: US News, World News, Drugs, Crime