Cocaine Racket Was Allgedly Responsible For 2 Murders

CHICAGO (CBS) – A retired Chicago Police officer is charged with several others in a racketeering conspiracy involving the kidnapping, robbery and murder in a cocaine distribution ring.

Glen Lewellen, who was on the police force from 1986 to 2002, tipped off federal agents to the criminal organization run by another man, Saul Rodriguez, and nicknamed the “Rodriguez Enterprise” by federal agents.

Rodriguez and five others were already charged in the racketeering case. They were arrest in April 2009 for allegedly conspiring to steal hundreds of kilos of cocaine from a warehouse in Channahon, federal prosecutors said.

Lewellen, 54, now of Las Vegas, is charged with racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He is also accused of participating in a kidnapping and robbery of 300 kilos of cocaine in 2003, but not in any of the two alleged murders connected to the Rodriguez.

He is also accused of obstruction of justice, for allegedly trying to cover up the Rodriguez Enterprise, including perjuring himself in a federal criminal trial in 1999 that sent the wrong defendant to prison in a narcotics case.

Lewellen is set to appear in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas Monday afternoon.

In addition to Lewellen, Manuel Uriarte, 33, of Monterey Bay, Calif., was charged with racketeering conspiracy and two counts of murder. He allegedly participated in the murders of Juan Luevano in Cicero on June 3, 2000, and Michael Garcia in Chicago on May 31, 2001. They were killed for money or access to drugs, federal prosecutors said.

Also charged is Walter Johnson, 36, of south suburban Frankfort, the alleged customer of the Rodriguez Enterprise drug ring. He is charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute wholesale quantities of cocaine and heroin.

The fourth new defendant in the case is Fares Umar, 38, who is charged with drug-related racketeering.

Six others were charged previously, including the aforementioned Rodriguez, 35, of Countryside. He is charged with racketeering, drug trafficking and involvement in the murders.

Also charged previously are Hector Uriarte, 31, of Burr Ridge; Jorge Uriarte, 37, of Oak Forest; Andres Flores, 29, of Chicago; Tony Sparkman, 24, of Chicago; and Jorge Lopez, 37, of Chicago.

The new indictment says the Rodriguez Enterprise was set up to enrich its leaders and members through kidnapping, violence and drug-trafficking. Besides the two murders, six kidnappings of 13 people are alleged between 2003 and 2007.

Rodriguez and Manuel Uriarte could receive the death penalty or mandatory life imprisonment if convicted. The others could also face life in prison and a fine of $4 million.

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