Drug trafficker sentenced to seven years in prison for operating cocaine delivery service in Chicago area


Date: December 16, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

A drug trafficker who conspired with his father and several others to operate a cocaine delivery service in the Chicago area has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison.

Tony J. Cayuela, also known as "Tone Kapone," of Chicago, operated a drug trafficking organization that in 2018 distributed cocaine to hundreds of customers in the Chicago area. Tony J. Cayuela packaged wholesale quantities of cocaine into one-gram bags for retail sale and dispatched drivers to complete deliveries to customers. One of the drivers was Tony Cayuela's father, Tony F. Cayuela, of Chicago.

Federal law enforcement shut down the drug trafficking organization during a multi-year investigation known as "Operation Flawed Deal." During the probe, authorities seized multiple bank accounts, more than a kilogram of cocaine, a Mercedes G63 sport-utility vehicle, and two handguns. All 18 defendants charged in the investigation, including the Cayuelas, pleaded guilty and admitted their roles in the trafficking operation. In addition to the drug conspiracy, Tony J. Cayuela also pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge.

U.S. District Judge Jorge L. Alonso sentenced Tony J. Cayuela on Dec. 6, 2022. The other 17 defendants were previously sentenced, including Anees Usmani, also known as "Ace," of Chicago, who received eight years in prison.

The case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug trafficking organizations and other criminal networks that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; John S. Morales, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Robert J. Bell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Valuable assistance was provided by the Chicago Police Department, Evanston, Ill., Police Department, Skokie, Ill., Police Department, Lincolnwood, Ill., Police Department, Palatine, Ill., Police Department, and Des Plaines, Ill., Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Mulaney represented the government.

"The convictions and federal prison sentences in this operation should serve as a warning to those who distribute poison in our communities: We will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law," said U.S. Attorney Lausch. "Our federal and local law enforcement partners in this operation performed exemplary work to dismantle a significant drug trafficking organization."

"This sentencing signals an important victory for the American public," said IRS-CI SAC Campbell. "The role of IRS Criminal Investigation in narcotics investigations is to follow the money and financially disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations. One of the government's most powerful weapons is the ability to seize the assets associated with narcotics-related crime. We are proud to work hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice."

"Operation Flawed Deal should serve as a beacon of hope to our community, a message that we won't tolerate drugs in our neighborhoods, and those who disobey the law will be brought to justice," said FBI Acting SAC Morales. "The FBI is honored to work with our state, local, and federal partners to protect the American people every day."