In December of 2008, DEA agents in Chicago executed a sting operation that “directly led to the seizure of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, dozens of kilograms of heroin, and several million dollars.” These busts were carried out based on intelligence received from confidential informants who began working with the agency in April of 2008. From August to November, the DEA worked with these informants to build their case and gather evidence. Then, in December of 2008, the DEA closed the trap.
The dealers arrested as a result of the Chicago operation received sentences of up to 30 years in prison. But the victory wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. While the seizure of hundreds of kilograms of narcotics was significant, it represented just a small fraction of the drugs that had been imported during that time.
“A review of thousands of federal court records, police reports, and court testimony from cases” related to Chicago the sting revealed that high level suppliers in Chicago, working with Mexican cartels, had imported “somewhere between six and eight tons of cocaine into the United States during the four-month period that they were gathering evidence.” That meant that while the DEA was preparing its case, up to two tons a month of narcotics had been flooding through Chicago streets.
Although many of the dealers involved in distributing those drugs were arrested, the high level suppliers were not. And it wasn’t because the DEA couldn’t find them or didn’t know who they were, it was because the people importing those drugs were the same people that were working with the DEA.
The suppliers were the confidential informants.
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