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Drug trafficker who used Naperville warehouses sent to prison

An international drug trafficker who used warehouses set up as legitimate businesses in Naperville, Plainfield and other suburbs to transport cocaine across the country has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.

Luis Eduardo Gonzalez Garcia, 55, of Monterey, Mexico, partnered with Mexican drug cartels to purchase and transport thousands of kilograms of cocaine to Chicago and other parts of the United States by using what prosecutors said was “a sophisticated network of warehouses and front companies .”

The businesses posed as legitimate companies but were used to distribute drugs and launder money, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago. In addition to operating in Chicago, they had warehouses in Naperville, Plainfield and Arlington Heights in Illinois and in Texas and Georgia, a news release said.

“At Gonzalez Garcia’s direction, the warehouse operators set up front companies and registered them with local governments as if they were legitimate businesses,” the release said.

“The companies, which claimed to sell furniture, snack food, laundry detergent or other items, often operated their own websites and hired employees to conceal the distribution of cocaine through the warehouses. The drugs and cash were primarily concealed in box pallets containing the types of goods the front companies purported to sell and then transported from Mexico on semi-trailer trucks driven by unwitting drivers.”

A pallet in a typical shipment could contain up to 100 kilograms of cocaine or up to $1.5 million in cash, the release said.

Gonzalez Garcia pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal drug conspiracy and money laundering charges. In addition to the prison term, he was also found $1.5 million.

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