21 people charged in Canada-to-Chicago drug ring


Federal authorities today said they are dismantling a multi-million-dollar drug operation that deals ecstacy and marijuana with tentacles stretching from Canada to Chicago and its suburbs.


Eleven people from the Chicago region were arrested today and made an initial appearance this afternoon under heavy police guard before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan R. Nolan. A 12th person from Skokie was arrested in Connecticut and will appear in court there. They were among 21 people charged with narcotics distribution.


The whereabout of the others — who are in the U.S., Canada and the Philippines — are known. Only one person is a fugitive, federal officials say.


The investigation, which originated in DuPage County , was born in 2003 and spearheaded by the DuPage County sheriff’s office. It led police to Chinatown and the

Latin Kings street
gang, authorities alleged.


The feds, with the assistance of numerous law enforcement agencies, say they seized $500,000 in cash, several thousand marijuana plants and 180,000 ecstacy pills. The drugs were brought in from Canada and ended up being dealt in Chicago and DuPage County .


“We’re not going to stand up and say the war on drugs is over and we’re not going to say the war on ecstacy is over,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald in an afternoon news conference.


“As of this point on this investigation, it will continue,” he said. “But this seemed to be the point to bring the case down and arrest the people that we had charges against.”