Drug dealers warehousing their goods in the burbs
In a neighborhood full of families, it was the children who apparently first noticed someone new had moved into the rented yellow-vinyl house on Joliet’s far west side.
They told their parents around February that a new boy was joining their games on this quiet cul-du-sac of neat, brand-new homes and had started attending their school.
What neighbors didn’t know, but what federal authorities now allege, is that this family — husband, wife and young son — was hired in Mexico, given a car and directions to Joliet and paid to live there as part of an elaborate ploy to disguise the two-story home’s true purpose. It was to serve as a stash house for a drug ring that allegedly raked in about $10 million a year selling cocaine, most recently under the leadership of a man named “Panda.”
Federal agents and local police raided the four-bedroom Joliet home in June, finding $1.4 million in cash in vacuum-sealed baggies in the attic and, inside a black Ford pickup in the garage, 54 kilograms of cocaine, according to recently unsealed court documents. It was part of a larger bust in which 17 people were arrested and accused of using stash houses across the southwest suburbs in Bolingbrook, Hickory Hills, Joliet, Oak Lawn and Plainfield.
Federal authorities say the suburbs now rival Chicago when comparing the amount of drugs imported to the area by Mexican cartels. The most significant drug conspiracy in Chicago history, detailed last month and traced back to Mexico’s most notorious drug kingpins, operated out of stash houses dotted all over bucolic suburban neighborhoods.
RTFA. Some of it is good police work, some of it luck – as it always is.
There’s the usual neighbor saying, “Oh my God – I never would’ve suspected it.” NSS.