Charges Filed in Federal Sweep Targeting Chicago Heroin Distribution Network
|FBI Chicago May 16, 2013|
Seven men and one woman are facing federal drug charges in connection with an investigation dubbed Operation Heroin Hotline that targeted heroin trafficking on Chicago’s near west side. The charges and the arrests of five of the defendants were announced today by Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Garry F. McCarthy, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
The five defendants taken into custody were arrested without incident this morning at various locations in the Chicago area by members of the FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force and CPD officers. One defendant was already in state custody on unrelated charges. Two defendants were not located today and remain at large.
The charges against seven of the defendants were contained in three indictments returned by a federal grand jury earlier this week and unsealed following today’s arrests. Two defendants were charged in separate indictments with one count each of distribution of a controlled substance, a felony offense. Five other defendants were named in a nine-count indictment that included charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance.
One defendant was charged in a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
According to court documents previously filed in connection with the case, the defendants allegedly worked together to provide customers with heroin, usually in capsule form, in exchange for cash. The transactions involved customers calling a specific telephone number to place an order for heroin. The customers were then directed to a series of locations in subsequent calls placed to the same telephone number until ultimately meeting face-to-face with an individual who would then provide the heroin to the customers.
The defendants charged by indictment are identified as PIERRE HENDERSON, 36, of 1254 South Washtenaw; his brother ERIC HENDERSON, 34, of 6432 19th Street, Berwyn; ALLEN MCBEATH, 32, of 1326 North Lockwood; ANTHONY BROWN, 27, of 121 North Independence, Rockford; SHRONDA MCDANIEL, 30, of 6432 19th Street; JIMMIE SESSONS, 28, of 1410 South Karlov; and HARVEY DAVIS, 25, of 856 North Tripp. HOWARD WALKER, 27, of 8406 South Marshfield, was charged by complaint.
Two defendants, Anthony Brown and Jimmie Sessons, avoided capture today and are now the subject of a nationwide manhunt. One other defendant, Davis, was already in custody on unrelated state charges.
The investigation leading to the filing of the charges and arrests announced today is part of an ongoing and coordinated effort by local, state, and federal authorities to identify and dismantle the many highly organized drug trafficking organizations operating in and around the Chicago metropolitan area. Operation Heroin Hotline began in 2009 and employed the extensive use of sophisticated physical surveillance techniques as well as the controlled purchase of heroin by undercover officers. The investigation to date has resulted in the seizure of approximately 750 grams of heroin, $21,000, and one vehicle.
Defendants Pierre Henderson, Eric Henderson, McBeath, and McDaniel appeared earlier today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert. McDaniel was released on bond, while the others were ordered held pending their next court appearances, which are scheduled to take place next week. Defendant Walker will appear at 3:00 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox.
If convicted of the charges against him, defendant Davis faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The other defendants each face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million.
The Chicago FBI’s Safe Streets Gangs Joint Task Force is composed of FBI special agents and officers from the Chicago Police Department.
Mr. Nelson thanked the River Forest and Forest Park Police Departments for their significant involvement throughout the course of the investigation.
The public is reminded that indictments and complaints are not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Editor’s note: Copies of the indictments and criminal complaint filed in this case are available from the Chicago FBI’s press office at (312) 829-1199.