Two men sentenced to prison as part of federal investigation that dismantled Mexico-to-Chicago drug pipeline


Date: May 2, 2024


Two suburban Chicago men have been sentenced to prison as part of a federal investigation that dismantled a Mexico-to-Chicago drug pipeline.

Sheldon Morales and Eduardo Santana conspired with a supplier in Mexico and two inmates in a prison in Texas to traffic methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cocaine from Mexico to Evanston, Ill., and Morton Grove, Ill., in 2019. The drugs were sent in packages from California and Arizona and later sold on the streets in the Chicago area.

Law enforcement uncovered the drug trafficking activities through the use of wiretapped cellular phones, package seizures, and extensive surveillance. The case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles drug traffickers and other criminal offenders that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multiagency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

A jury in U.S. District Court in Chicago in 2022 convicted Morales, of Morton Grove, Ill., and Santana, of Skokie, Ill., on a drug conspiracy charge. Morales was also convicted of an individual drug charge related to his attempted possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl. U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland on Tuesday sentenced Santana to 16 years and eight months in prison. Judge Rowland sentenced Morales on April 16, 2024, to 19 years and seven months in prison.

Two other defendants were also convicted and sentenced to prison as part of this investigation. Darius Morales, of Evanston, Ill., was sentenced in 2022 to nearly eight years in federal prison for illegally possessing a semi-automatic handgun in Evanston. Demetrius Shavers, of Chicago, was sentenced in 2021 to more than six and a half years in federal prison for trafficking heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl in the Chicago area.

The sentences were announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Chicago Field Office, and Sheila G. Lyons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Substantial assistance was provided by the Evanston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles W. Mulaney and Kirsten Moran represented the government.