United States federal authorities have rounded up and charged as many as 23 persons said to be members and associates of the Illinois faction of the Belizean Bloods—a gang made up mostly of Belizean immigrants within the United States—with alleged narcotics trafficking links to Belize, including one Jerry Johnson, also known as “Kaiden Bennett” and “Kalvin Howell,” who allegedly inherited his father’s connections when he was deported back to Belize.
Johnson, approximately 30, who has allegedly directed the Belizean Bloods drug-trafficking organization in Chicago, was arrested yesterday and subsequently arraigned in Federal Court in Salt Lake City, Illinois. He remains in custody pending a detention hearing tomorrow, Friday.
Most of the accused, said the FBI agency, were arrested in Chicago this week.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the head of Belize’s National Security Council who has been trying to hold together a gang truce in Belize City since September, told Amandala today that he was not briefed on the latest development, but said that Belize will clearly have to monitor future developments to see if indeed the accused persons are deported back to Belize. He said that is “a worrying dynamic.”
“I would accept it is something that would, as it were, elevate the threat level or concern level,” he said, but added that he would try to find out from the Minister of Police, Doug Singh, if he knows anything and if he doesn’t, what our intelligence-gathering apparatus can find out.
An official complaint by the US Department of Justice against the accused alleges that some of the men charged “were involved in conversations and planning with an undercover agent and a cooperating witness to engage in a purported armed robbery, and shooting if necessary, of three members of a Mexican drug cartel on Tuesday.”
Five defendants have to reappear in court next Tuesday morning:
“Three of them, Myreon Flowers, 39, of Chicago, aka ‘Diesel;’ Anwar Trapp, 31, of Chicago, aka ‘Bernard Gillett;’ ‘Herman Flowers,’ and ‘Smash;’ and Rudy Space, 30, of Chicago; were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, for allegedly planning to rob a purported 50 kilograms of cocaine from a purported ‘stash’ garage in Berwyn…” DOJ officials said. “They were arrested at [a] meeting spot in Lyons as they prepared to descend upon the fictitious stash location.”
FBI Special Agent Holly Barrile said in her criminal complaint that Trapp, Flowers, and Space conspired among themselves and with others to traffic 5 kilos of cocaine.
The arrests and charges were made in investigations conducted under the umbrella of U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), and with significant assistance from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA.), the DOJ office said.
A press release supplied to our newspaper by the office of Randall Samborn, Assistant US Attorney, Public Information Officer, in the US Department of Justice, said that a federal investigation into alleged passport fraud and narcotics trafficking by members and associates of the Belizean Bloods street gang, which has been operating in Evanston and Chicago, has led to charges against the defendants.
“The investigation, which is continuing, relied on undercover purchases of narcotics, surveillance, consensual audio and video recordings, and court-authorized wiretaps of telephone conversations, as well as information provided by multiple cooperating witnesses, including former members and associates of the Belizean Bloods,” said the release.
According to the charges against Johnson and three others, Johnson’s sources of supply included quantities of narcotics from Belize.
“Five other defendants were arrested, and three guns were seized Tuesday afternoon in Lyons, where they had gathered as part of an alleged conspiracy to rob what they believed was 50 kilograms of cocaine from a different drug organization, but which, in fact, was a ruse in an undercover sting operation,” the Chicago branch of the office said.
The DOJ informed that 10 separate federal complaints were filed and unsealed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Search and arrest warrants were executed Tuesday and Wednesday, said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
The US officials say that the charges arise from two coordinated investigations: Operation Blood Hound and Operation Black Orchid. The Chicago and Evanston Police Departments also assisted in the operations.
FBI Special Agent Stephanie R. Lambert filed a criminal complaint against Johnson and three others (Sheldon Morales, Douglas Wilson, and Tyrita Myers) on Monday, October 31, 2011.
She charged that the men “conspired with each other and with others known and unknown to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute and distribute a controlled substance, namely, 280 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base and 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine.”
In her affidavit, she furthermore claimed: “Johnson operated a drug trafficking organization (‘DTO’) involving the supply and distribution of powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Specifically, Morales supplied by consignment or ‘fronted’ Johnson with powder cocaine, knowing that Johnson would produce crack cocaine from the powder cocaine. Johnson ‘cooked’ the powder cocaine to produce crack cocaine, and fronted crack cocaine in wholesale quantities to DTO workers, including Wilson and Myers. Wilson and Myers sold crack cocaine to customers and used the proceeds of those sales to pay Johnson.”
Lambert deposes that, “In approximately April 2010, FBI interviewed CW2 [a confidential witness who has a conviction for a narcotics-related case]. According to CW2, in 2010, Johnson advised CW2 that Johnson was aware that narcotics were being supplied from Belize to members of the Belizean Bloods street gang in the Chicagoland area.”
CW5 is quoted in the affidavit as saying that he/she “acted as a ‘runner’ for the Belizean Bloods by driving to Mexico where s/he would be met by other ‘runners’ with shipments of narcotics from Belize to be transported to various destinations in the United States. CW5 was paid approximately $10,000 as a ‘runner’.”
Lambert’s complaint said that the FBI has been investigating narcotics trafficking by the Belizean Bloods street gang operating in Evanston, Illinois, and Chicago, Illinois for the past two years – since 2009.
According to the DOJ release, “In 2009, the Chicago Field Office of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service began investigating alleged passport fraud by Belizean nationals, while at the same time the FBI and Evanston and Chicago police were investigating alleged narcotics trafficking by suspected members of the Belizean Bloods.”
Powder and crack cocaine, firearms and assault rifles and cash were seized, US authorities say.
“Eight additional Belizean nationals were prosecuted for passport fraud and eight others for illegally re-entering the country within the past year in Federal Court in Chicago,” said the DOJ. ”Another Belizean national was arrested yesterday in Chicago on passport fraud charges filed in the Southern District of Florida.”
In one of the cases, Glen Flowers, 40, was charged with passport fraud for attempting last December to fraudulently get a passport under one of his aliases, Herbert Williams, Jr.
The entities engaged in the announcement include the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service Chicago Field Office; the Chicago Office of the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Chicago; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago; the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and the U.S. Marshal in Chicago.
According to the DOJ, “The Belizean Bloods narcotics distribution route allegedly included Illinois, Utah, Ohio, Indiana, New York and California.”
Officials say the defendants face various maximum penalties on the narcotics charges, ranging from a maximum of 20 years (with mandatory minimum sentences of either 5 or 10 years), to a maximum of 40 years or life in prison, together with maximum fines of $250,000, $2 million or $4 million, depending on the charges.
Additionally, the passport fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, they add.
“The public is reminded that charges are merely allegations and are not evidence of guilt,” the DOJ affirmed. ”The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The summary of charges and allegations is as follows:
Jerry Johnson, together with Sheldon Morales, 30, of Wheeling, an alleged member of the Gangster Disciples street gang who supplied Johnson with powder cocaine; Douglas Wilson, 57, of Evanston; and Tyrita Myers, approximately 24, of Chicago; were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute wholesale quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine between August 2010 and March 2011.
Anderson Ward, 29, of Chicago, was charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute in March 2011.
William Gentle, 30, of Chicago, and Richard Ellis, 18, of Evanston, were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute crack cocaine between May and July this year.
Gilbert Gadson, 45, of Chicago, aka “Gilbert Gatson,” and Roy Walker, 52, of Chicago, were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute crack cocaine in January and February this year.
Glen Flowers, 40, of Skokie — aka “Glen Gillett,” “William Powell,” and “Herbert Williams, Jr.” — was charged with passport fraud for attempting in December 2010 to fraudulently renew a U.S. passport in the name of Herbert Williams, Jr.
The same Glen Flowers was charged with distributing powder cocaine, while Harrington Gibson, 63, of Chicago, aka “Uncle Harry,” was charged with distributing crack cocaine on June 29, 2011.
Carlos Perez, 41, of Chicago; Alfredo Castro, age and residence unavailable; and Jonathan Vaughan, 26, of Chicago, were charged with distributing cocaine on Oct. 20, 2011.
Anwar Trapp, together with Wilton Bennett, 29, of Chicago; Marlon Conorquie, 36, of Chicago, aka “Dread;” and Alix Aurele, 37, of Dolton, were charged with distributing crack cocaine or heroin in September and October this year.