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updated: 9/20/2012 2:26 PM

Three suburban men charged after drug sweep

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Four suburban men are among 11 people charged with federal drug trafficking offenses after a months-long investigation staged by federal and local authorities.

Alberto Guadarrama, 29, of Bartlett, is accused of operating a drug-trafficking enterprise in the area with narcotics from Mexico.

Federal court records indicate a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation gained momentum in March when two Chicago brothers operating a tow truck hauling a car with 44 pounds of heroin hidden inside were stopped by Chicago police after running a red light on city's northwest side. The police seized the car at the behest of DEA agents who were also listening to telephone conversations between the two brothers and Guadarrama.

"I'm telling you that the ... car was taken by the clowns, man," one of the brothers said to Guadarrama in a recorded phone call between the pair, according to court papers.

Working with an informant, federal drug agents with the assistance of local police departments in the Chicago area and other parts of the country eventually built cases against 11 men involved in the trafficking operation that resulted in the arrest of 10 of them yesterday, a news release from the U.S. attorneys office stated.

The court papers allege Guadarrama sold almost 4.5 pounds of cocaine to the government's informant in January, as well.

In addition, Victor Manuel Contreras, 43, and Mario Ortiz, 34, both of Elgin, and Orlando Penaloza, 28, of Harvard, were charged as part of the investigation with selling cocaine. Prosecutors allege Contreras delivered Ortiz 6.6 pounds of cocaine in June and Ortiz in turn delivered the same amount to Penaloza.

During the course of the investigation, a total of 47.4 pounds of heroin and 11 pounds of cocaine was seized, authorities reported.

Guadarrama, Contreras and Ortiz face a minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum of life behind bars along with a $10 million fine, prosecutors said. Penaloza faces between 5 years and 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine, if convicted.

One defendant, Miguel Ortuno-Gomez, 30, of Madison, Wis., remains a fugitive, officials said. He is charged in the same cocaine delivery scheme as Contreras, Ortiz and Penaloza.

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