Investigative Programs: Organized Crime
Operation Global Sea
Beginning in 1996, the Chicago FBI Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Customs Service conducted a four-year joint investigation with local and state authorities, into an international Nigerian Criminal Enterprise believed to be supplying Southeast Asian heroin to other organizations.
The Global Sea investigation was initiated on information developed in a separate Milwaukee investigation by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and United States Customs Service in cooperation with local and state authorities. The Milwaukee investigation revealed that a Nigerian drug trafficking enterprise in Milwaukee was being supplied with heroin by an organization based in Chicago.
During the Chicago investigation, several undercover drug buys and four months of court authorized wiretaps led to the interception of several drug couriers and resulted in the seizure of more than $200,000 and approximately 160 pounds of Southeast Asian heroin. The court authorized wiretaps also resulted in the interception of over 25,000 telephone calls, the vast majority of which were in the African (Nigerian) dialect of Yoruba.
In all twenty-seven individuals were indicted for their part in the heroin distribution organization and arrests were made in Chicago, Detroit, New York, Washington, DC, and Thailand. Seven of the individuals indicted are now international fugitives. This investigation revealed that this criminal enterprise also had contacts in New Jersey, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Texas, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Mexico.