A California man was sentenced Sept. 11 to 35 years in prison for his role as head of an international drug-trafficking organization that moved “thousands of kilograms of narcotics” aboard Amtrak trains between Los Angeles and Chicago between 2010 and 2016.
Edgar Roque, 32, of Paramount, Calif., was the leader of an extensive network of drug dealers that moved heroin and cocaine from Mexico to Los Angeles, and then to Chicago via train.
Roque, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to drug and money laundering charges, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall.
Federal authorities arrested Roque and 23 other individuals in October 2016 after a multi-year investigation called Operation Derailed. Over the course of that investigation, law enforcement agents confiscated more than 60 kilograms of cocaine, more than 30 kilograms of heroin, a kilogram of fentanyl, seven firearms and more than $1.8 million in cash.
The investigation was conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of OCDETF is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.
Roque was responsible for importing the drugs from Mexico into California via numerous cartel-level suppliers. More than a dozen people in California, Illinois and elsewhere were involved.
After being picked up at Union Station in Chicago, the drugs were stored at numerous stash houses, including a home in the Gage Park neighborhood of Chicago and an apartment in northwest suburban Streamwood. After selling the drugs throughout the Chicago area, Roque or members of his crew would fly west on commercial airlines with the cash proceeds, often carrying $150,000 per person.
Several of the defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to prison terms between nearly six years and more than 20 years. Four others are awaiting sentencing this fall.
Amtrak employee Roy J. Griffin, 45, of Calumet City, admitted scheming to steal a package of cocaine that had arrived at Union Station. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Griffin and another man, Daniel Douglas, 43, of Blue Island, were charged with theft of goods from a railroad car and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.
— Dealer gets 35 years for moving heroin, cocaine aboard Amtrak trains —-