A federal judge in Chicago has harshly sentenced a drug trafficker who operated from warehouses in the Chicago suburbs.
Luis Eduardo Gonzalez-Garcia was sentenced to three times the time he suggested.
Gonzalez-Garcia, in his own words, is a family man. However, federal drug agents claim he transferred $56 million from Naperville and Arlington Heights cocaine warehouses to Mexican cartel accounts, the proceeds of a lucrative drug-smuggling business.
Authorities claim the drug lord owned tropical yachts, expensive gold watches, flashy SUVs, and was toasting the high life on horseback. That is, until Gonzalez-Garcia was apprehended by the DEA from Chicago in 2018 while boarding a plane in Guatemala City.
According to investigators, Gonzalez-Garcia had spent the previous five years overseeing a massive cocaine network, concealing drugs in shipments of laundry detergent, furniture, and Mexican snack food.
He oversaw one of Chicago’s most lucrative illegal drug operations, from Mexico to Atlanta, Chicago, and the suburbs: a warehouse in Arlington Heights raking in $12 million in cash shipped back to Mexico, and a similar suburban warehouse in Naperville raking in $32 million.
The I-Team spoke with Bob Bell, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division, earlier this year about the cartels’ ties to the Chicago area.
“There are direct ties to the Mexico based cartels like the Sinaloa cartel and the new generation cartel in Mexico and their direct relationships and direct activity between the cartels and distribution in Chicago,” he said.
Gonzalez-Garcia was arrested and taken to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, where he eventually pleaded guilty, expecting a reduced sentence for his good behavior.
According to documents filed by his attorneys, he was not only a family man and a businessman, but he was also a repentant man.
He even included pictures of his children and letters from his twin sister and a family priest to convince Judge Ronald Guzman that mercy, the family man’s good deeds, and not just his cartel drug lordship should be considered.
Gonzalez-Garcia requested a minimum of 10 years in prison, but Judge Guzman sentenced him to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
Gonzalez-Garcia claims he got into the cocaine business after his tomato-growing business failed and he became “clouded in bad judgment” as he put it in court.
It would be a move that would tarnish his family’s reputation; his mother had once served as mayor of their Mexican hometown.
The 55-year-old kingpin is counting down the days until his release, when he will be in his 80s, at the Chicago MCC.