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Suspect in Mexican cartel-Latin Kings drug conspiracy case in Illinois sentenced to 32 years in prison

January 8, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Suspect in Mexican cartel-Latin Kings drug conspiracy case in Illinois sentenced to 32 years in prison

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A man, characterized by authorities as the primary target of a large-scale operation against cartel-fueled drug distribution ring led by the Latin Kings gang in the Waukegan, Illinois area, was sentenced to 32 years behind bars on Friday by a circuit court judge in Lake County.

Alfonso Gallardo, who officials stated also went by the nickname “Grande,” was found guilty in late 2015 of street gang drug conspiracy, calculated drug conspiracy, criminal drug conspiracy and possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute.

He was one of 18 individuals charged in the operation stemming from 2013.

The 48-year-old was sentenced by Judge George Strickland on Friday to 24 years behind bars on the conspiracy charges, which will be required to be served at 75%. For the cocaine charge, he was also sentenced to eight years, which will be served at 50%, according to Rob Drobinski, the Assistant State’s Attorney. The sentences will be served consecutively.

“Gallardo was playing the middleman between a Mexican drug cartel and the Latin Kings gang, operating a complicated and significant distribution system in Waukegan,” Drobinski stated. “This sentence ensures the community will be protected from him for the foreseeable future.”

Drobinski praised the Waukegan Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for spearheading the investigation, which resulted in the charges of 18 men. Several have been found guilty, while three remain on the lam and were believed to have retreated to Mexico.

Officials said Gallardo is the first defendant in Lake County to be convicted on the charge of a street-gang criminal drug conspiracy.

Gallardo received large amounts of cocaine from California. Authorities believe that the drugs originated from Mexico and were disseminated locally by Waukegan Latin King gang members, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Waukegan Police stated that after the operation was revealed to the public, the arrests struck a major blow to cocaine businesses in the city and the surrounding region.

Gallardo remained in the Lake County Jail on $1 million bail since he was arrested, and after his guilty verdict, his bond was withdrawn. He will now be transported to prison and will receive credit toward his sentence for time already served.

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