California man gets 35 years for drug-trafficking ring on Amtrak trains

(Reuters) - A California man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for heading a drug-trafficking ring that brought massive amounts of heroin and cocaine from Mexico to Chicago aboard Amtrak trains, prosecutors said.

Edgar Roque, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to drug and money laundering charges, is among some 20 people charged in connection with the drug-running operation, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago said in a written statement.

He was sentenced on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

"This is criminal conduct of the worst kind,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Tzur wrote in the government’s sentencing memorandum. 

"Edgar Roque’s leadership role directing the mass movement of heroin and cocaine into the Chicago area and elsewhere showed that he had absolutely no regard for the safety and well-being of addicts and the communities into which he delivered the drugs," Tzur wrote.

Attorneys for Roque could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say members of the drug ring imported cocaine and heroin from Mexico via multiple cartel-level suppliers and shipped them from Los Angeles to Chicago in packages shipped on Amtrak trains, assisted by an insider at the organization.

The narcotics were hidden in stash houses in the Chicago area to be distributed to street-level dealers.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

09/12/2018 18:31

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