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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Feds’ Seizure Of Jet In Gary Tied To Reputed Leader Of Mexican Cocaine Ring

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Oswaldo Espinosa shipped thousands of pounds of cocaine from Mexico, according to an indictment this summer. The global supply of the drug is way up — and so is the quantity of coke the feds have been seizing in the Chicago area.

This Bombardier Challenger jet was carrying about 230 pounds of cocaine shipped from Mexico to Gary in 2021, federal authorities say.

Two years after federal investigators seized a cocaine-laden jet in Gary, they say they’ve worked their way up the ladder of an organization that imported thousands of pounds of the drug from Mexico to Chicago and other cities.

Reputed ringleader Oswaldo Espinosa and 14 others were indicted in July in federal court in Chicago on drug conspiracy charges. From March 2021 to March 2022, the government seized more than 1,200 pounds of cocaine from Espinosa’s operatives in Chicago, Indiana, Texas and Florida, authorities say.

Espinosa isn’t in federal custody but many of his co-defendants have been arrested, records show.

The case against them is linked to the federal seizure of a Bombardier Challenger jet in November 2021.

Agents were watching men transfer luggage from the plane into a Lincoln Navigator at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. Later, agents stopped two of the men on Rush Street in the Gold Coast and found 175 pounds of cocaine in suitcases in the Toyota Highlander they were in.

Investigators found another 44 pounds of coke in luggage in a nearby hotel where one of the men was staying, prosecutors said

On Nov. 3, 2021 at a Gold Coast hotel, federal agents seized luggage containing 20 brick-shaped packages of cocaine wrapped in black tape, according to the DEA.

The plane flew from Mexico to Houston, where the cocaine was loaded onboard, before continuing to Gary, according to the indictment. Agents were tracking the jet because it made a previous round trip between Toluca, Mexico, just west of Mexico City, and Gary.

Three men linked to the pickup of the cocaine on the jet have pleaded guilty to drug charges and were sentenced to years-long prison terms. In a separate case, Espinosa and his co-defendants are awaiting trial.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s case stemming from the jet is among a growing number of federal investigations involving major seizures of cocaine in the Chicago area in recent years. The global supply of cocaine is at record levels with cultivation of coca leaves, the main ingredient in cocaine, rising 43% in 2021 in Colombia, the United Nations said in a report released in March.

Global cocaine production is up.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Cocaine production began to rise because of a 2016 peace deal forged between Colombia and anti-government rebels who cultivated cocaine to fund their activities. Then, during the COVID pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the government curtailed raids on cocaine plantations and growers were able to stockpile coca leaves, according to the U.N. The finished cocaine is typically transported from Colombia to the United States via Mexico.

In the Chicago area, the DEA saw its cocaine seizures increase sharply from 911 pounds in 2019 to 1,036 in 2020, 2,915 in 2021, 3,221 pounds last year and 2,316 pounds this year, according to a spokesperson. The figures are for DEA’s fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

Defendants in some of the other major drug-related cases filed in recent years in federal court in Chicago include:

* Eldar Mata, James Baker and Luis Gonzalez Lopez, indicted in August on a money-laundering charge. They’re accused of funneling $40 million in suspected drug proceeds to bank accounts in Colombia from 2019 to 2022 using cryptocurrency. Mata, who reaped about $590,000 in fees, bought a Maserati with some of the money, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say this “Narcos” scene was the logo for a WhatsApp chatroom used by two men accused of illegally sending $40 million to Colombia.

A scene portraying Colombian cartel leaders from the show “Narcos” was the logo for a WhatsApp online chat room Mata and Baker used, according to an affidavit of an IRS agent, who said Mata wrote: “Bro I met some clients yesterday Straight outta Culiacan. They be looking like extras in El Chapo show.” Culiacan is the capital of Sinaloa state in Mexico where former drug cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera had reigned.

* Anthony Hernandez who, according to an informant, is a U.S. citizen who lived on a ranch in Jalisco, Mexico. According to a DEA agent’s affidavit, Hernandez worked directly for the leaders of a drug cartel. He’s preparing to change his not-guilty plea, his attorney said in court Monday. Hernandez is accused of having a government informant regularly pick up loads of more than 200 pounds of cocaine to distribute to customers.

* Jose Pablo Barraza-Resendez and Diego Soto-Herrera, who were sentenced this year to prison terms. They pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a seizure of 55 pounds of cocaine from their Northwest Side home, as well as selling about six and a half pounds of cocaine to a woman in Lombard. They’d moved from Mexico to Chicago to deal cocaine in order to pay off a debt Barraza and his family owed in Mexico, prosecutors said.

* Ronald Coleman, a truck driver who’s awaiting trial on charges accusing him of transporting about 200 pounds of cocaine. An Illinois State Police trooper seized the drugs after stopping his truck in April near Rockford. According to prosecutors, Coleman told the trooper he was shipping the cocaine from California to a Chicago warehouse and planned to transport the drug proceeds back to California.

Chicago Sun Times


  1. All you have to do is cross the border with the drugs and hop on a plane to any U.S. city. No 2nd checkpoint

    1. That’s not accurate you have to cross a checkpoint at the border and also about 20 miles inland at every border city, there is another checkpoint run by the border patrol so it’s actually two checkpoints and they’re both extremely difficult to pass these days. Back in the late 70s and early 80s you could simply wait for the second inland checkpoint to close but that I will changed in early 1990 when they were all staffed with dogs and the border patrol were given DEA authority at those checkpoints

    2. That’s exactly how this group was caught moron.

    3. Not true. They close VERY often. They all have lookouts that let you know when the 2 nd checkpoint is closed.

    4. @8:10 am The interior checkpoints in Texas will often close if it's raining hard or at the least, they will just wave you through tge checkpoint.

  2. Gary, Indiana is ghetto. Never knew there was an airport there.

    1. Back when I was trucking wanted to see where the Jackson's came from WOW what a shit hole hell yeah someone dropped a roll of dimes

  3. Saludo a todos los hankies de indiana

  4. No wonder the bricks are so cheap now a days. That profit is extra slim right now. Unless you can get real real Real perks, drug prices are way too cheap. There are many other legal avenues with more profit’s available, right now. Well, until this economy collapses. Which should be within 12-18 months.

    1. So what do you suggest the streets start pushin? Because in this economy a 9-5 and those warehouse jobs aint go cut it.

    2. That’s your problem. You’re thinking of working for someone else. 9-5 or a warehouse. I started hustling pedal bikes from Fl, and selling them in Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland OH. Pedal bikes are super cheap in FL (warm weather so more bikes are used) and mostly non rusted. I taught myself how to fix them up, paint them. I would take a $10 bike, and flip it into $45. I’d bring one load a month, nothing less that 350 bikes. Average a cost of $12 a bike. If there is a will there is a way.

    3. Listen, 1/15 or maybe 1/20 is making real money in the streets. They would make more at a warehouse than what they are making. Scamming is the best option and scamming ain’t the streets. You got the ERC making that PUA look like chump change.

  5. @9.39 what are the legal avenues that make more money than cocaine trafficking?

    1. Well, HVAC guys are making a killing right now. I know some plumbers making 7-10k a month And I factor in prison time into the profits as well. If you are going to traffic snow, keep it to under 5 bricks. The sentencing guidelines in the Feds change from 5 up to a mandatory minimum of ten. I did 108 months already. Plus, the profits ain’t no where near 2009-2010. Only for those few Covid months. Was it stupid booming. Bricks are going for 17-19K in the streets rn. So even if you’re at 15-15,500, is 3500 worth 5 years of your life? Unless you got a plug at 9, pay an extra 2 to bring them to wherever you need. And let them go at 18-19, then mayyybe.


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