Seventeen men and women from Lake County and one from California have been arrested and charged with various drug crimes in connection with what authorities say was the operation of a large drug ring.
Waukegan Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Lake County State's Attorney's Office worked to identify the drug trafficking organization that involved members of a local street-gang, authorities said Wednesday.
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The leaders of the operation were identified as Noe Perez-Delgado, 29, of Ontario, Calif., and Alfonso Gallardo, 46, of the 400 block of Oakwood in Waukegan.
Perez-Delgado is the drug supplier, authorities said, and he was charged with two counts of street gang criminal drug activity, three counts of calculated criminal drug conspiracy and the manufacture and delivery of cocaine.
Police say Gallardo used his family members to prepare and package drugs he received from Perez-Delgado for local distribution to lower-level gang members. He was charged with two counts of criminal drug conspiracy and three counts of calculated criminal drug conspiracy.
Arrest warrants were issued March 20. All the suspects remain behind bars and are pending detention hearings next week.
Authorities said the DEA and the Waukegan Police Department's Gang Intelligence Unit spent hundreds of hours putting together data and discovered the drug trafficking organization operating in the Waukegan area.
They said many of those indicted are known gang members who utilized their gang connections to distribute the drugs.
In addition to Perez-Delgado and Gallardo, seven Waukegan residents were charged with counts of calculated criminal drug conspiracy and street gang criminal drug conspiracy. They are: Saul Flores-Avina, 24; Adalberto Gallardo, 37; Eder Gallardo, 19; Maria Ontiveros, 41; Carlos Matamoros, 29; Arturo Palma, 26; and Adrian Salgado, 25.
Charged with a single count of calculated criminal drug conspiracy are: Rogelio Fajardo, 50, of Beach Park; Steven Zielak, 24, of Waukegan; Efrain Sajuan, 45, of Waukegan; Marcos Antonio Garibay, 36, of Waukegan; Jose Zavala, 39, of Waukegan; Daniel Rogel, 25, of Gurnee; Tomas Banuelos, 34, of Round Lake Beach; Juan Macias-Rodarte, 38, of Waukegan; and Jose Hurtado, 47, of Beach Park.