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Contraband
01/07/2011

9 charged in Illinois narcotics trafficking investigation

AURORA, Ill. - A lengthy joint investigation into a local cocaine distribution operation ended last month with the arrests of the nine subjects who face state felony narcotics charges. The investigation was conducted by the North Central Narcotics Task Force (NCNTF), with assistance from the Aurora Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Kane County State's Attorney's Office, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

The following lists the nine who are charged and the charges:

  • Manuel V. Carranza, 24, of Montgomery, Ill., unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; unlawful possession of a controlled substance; and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance. 
  • Roberto C. Hernandez, 27, of Aurora, Ill., unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; unlawful possession of a controlled substance; false report of stolen motor vehicle; and aggravated fleeing and eluding. 
  • Eddie L. Hernandez, 19, of Aurora, Ill., unlawful use of a weapon within 1000 feet of a school; and unlawful use of a weapon. 
  • Guadalupe Gil, 22, of Montgomery, Ill., unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
  • Helen M. Finneran, 40, of Lombard, Ill., unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. 
  • Jose A. Nunez-Martinez, 36, of Aurora, Ill., unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
  • Jose M. Baez, 26, of Aurora, Ill., unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
  • Rodolfo Gallardo Jr., 19, Aurora, Ill., unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
  • Gabriela E. Hernandez, 17, Aurora, Ill., false report of stolen motor vehicle.

According to NCNTF Director Bill Backus, during the course of the investigation, which began in April 2010, undercover agents reportedly conducted numerous hand-to-hand purchases of cocaine from Carranza in Aurora. During negotiations to purchase multiple kilograms of cocaine, NCNTF agents learned Carranza had sources of supply that had the means to smuggle cocaine into the United States from Mexico.

In July, NCNTF requested assistance from both the Aurora Police Dept. and the Chicago ICE HSI office. Over the course of the next several months, law enforcement personnel from all three agencies conducted extensive covert surveillance on multiple suspects and obtained several telephone intercepts ("wire taps") to gather additional information on their alleged operations.

Backus said that information obtained during the surveillance and wiretaps was forwarded to law enforcement agencies in other states which resulted in additional investigations.

According to Backus, the NCNTF-led investigation resulted in seizing about $415,000 in U.S. currency, three vehicles, a handgun, and more than three kilograms of cocaine. Agents are also pursuing the forfeiture of one residence. Based on the evidence obtained during the investigation, authorities allege Carranza, Roberto Hernandez, and Eddie Hernandez were all involved in distributing multiple kilogram amounts of cocaine throughout the Aurora area. The additional subjects were purportedly involved in further distributing the cocaine in smaller amounts. In addition to the subjects listed, Backus said charges are being reviewed on more individuals involved in the case, and additional arrests are expected in the future.

"It is unfortunate that some individuals associated with these subjects jumped to conclusions and made erroneous statements in the press when some information about this case was released to the media last month," Backus said, referring to the $190,000 currency seizure from two Aurora brothers in October. "In a civil hearing on Jan. 5, the judge ruled we had probable cause to stop the vehicle and seize the money we found." Backus continued, "We are confident in our investigation, the actions of our officers, and the future successful prosecution of these subjects."

All subjects charged in this investigation are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.