News Release
November 24, 2009
Contact: Will Taylor
Number: 312-886-2597

Alleged La Familia Mexican Drug Cartel Members and Associates Indicted in Federal Court

NOV 24 -- (Chicago) Seven separate indictments were returned in Chicago on November 19, 2009, charging 15 defendants of alleged involvement with a Chicago cell of a Mexican drug trafficking organization. Arrests and charges initially occurred in August. These indictments allege for the first time that the defendants were connected to the Chicago distribution cell of La Familia Michoacana, whose members and associates distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine and collected tens of millions of dollars in profits within the Chicago area since at least 2007.

During the investigation, which began in 2007, the Chicago Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration seized approximately 250 kilograms of cocaine and $8 million in alleged drug proceeds. One kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds. The seizures occurred mainly in suburban locales, including Berwyn, Bolingbrook, Oak Lawn, Hickory Hills, Joliet, and Justice, officials say. The investigation was part of a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction narcotics-trafficking investigation that targeted La Familia’s distribution network throughout the United States. Federal charges were brought against over 300 defendants in 19 states last month in coordination with Project Coronado. With the 15 individuals named in the indictments released last week, a total of 20 defendants linked to this investigation are facing federal drug charges in the U.S. District Court in Chicago. The La Familia cartel, accused of importing large quantities of cocaine from Mexico into the United States, is based in the southwestern Mexico state of Michoacan.

The indictment alleges that as part of the conspiracy, an individual in Mexico and members and associates of the La Familia cartel’s distribution cell in the Chicago area formed a “command and control group designed for the efficient distribution