That includes a network of alleged drug dealers, runners, and customers. At the top of the pyramid was, according to prosecutors, 26-year-old Andres Garcia, whose alleged operation extended from his apartment on Chicago's West Wide to the well-manicured yards of multiple DuPage County suburbs
"Today's charges send a message to those drug dealers who are peddling heroin in this county, peddling poison that is killing citizens in this county," DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin said.
Wednesday morning, Garcia watched quietly from jail on closed-circuit TV as he was ordered held on $1.5 million bond.
The six-month sting by federal, state, and local authorities involved thousands of hours of wiretapped phone calls allegedly detailing orders from Garcia to a network of lieutenants who sold the heroin at various city and suburban locations, many of which were along the Eisenhower Expressway, police said.
"This is the way we're going to do business from this point forward. We're going to go after organizations, from the people putting it on the street, from the people transporting it, all the way down to the sources of supply, wherever that takes us," Special-Agent-in-Charge Jack Riley, Chicago DEA, said.
"They were very methodical, and they were taking in anywhere from 25-hundred to three-thousand dollars a day in profits," Berlin said.
The arrests come as DuPage County is reeling from a string of heroin-related deaths -- at least 70 in the county in the last 20 months. That's an average of nearly one per week...
Authorities say there could be more arrests.
"Unfortunately I think this is the tip of the iceberg," Berlin said. "We've busted a huge organization. But there are others out there. There are other heroin dealers out there."
"To the bad guys out there, you better be looking over your shoulder because we're coming. We're not going to roll over on this," Riley said.