Twenty-four people have been indicted for allegedly transporting drugs into Illinois using Amtrak Express trains. Authorities investigated the alleged drug transportation scheme for several years, calling their investigation Operation Derailed. Investigators believe that wholesale quantities of heroin and cocaine were moved from Los Angeles to Union Station in Chicago and then sold in the Chicago area.
According to the indictment, some of the defendants have been accused of committing other federal crimes involving the mail system. Federal prosecutors say that some of the accused individuals used FedEx to send drugs from Los Angeles to Chicago. Many of the defendants have been accused of hiding drugs in pool filters and car parts in order to transport them on Amtrak.
Over the course of the investigation, authorities seized over 30 grams of heroin and 60 kilograms of cocaine. One kilogram of fentanyl was also seized, along with seven firearms and $1.8 million in cash. Authorities are reportedly seeking the forfeiture of $9.3 million from the defendants. Three Chicago residents were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and one other Chicago resident was charged with attempting to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. An Amtrak employee who was working at Union Station when a shipment of cocaine arrived was charged with theft of goods from a railroad car and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.
A multi-state indictment like this often results in dozens of people being charged for their alleged roles in a drug scheme. Some of the people who are indicted may not be aware of the scale of the alleged drug scheme. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help a defendant to dispute some of their drug charges by arguing that their involvement in an alleged drug scheme was minimal.
Source: FOX 32, “Feds: 24 charged with bringing drugs from LA to Chicago on Amtrak,” Oct. 27, 2016