(CBS) — A west suburban man will spend at least 12 years in prison after being captured in a joint federal-local drug sting focusing on heroin sales in DuPage County.

Rene Rojo, 40, formerly of the 4900 block of West 29th Place in Cicero, was sentenced to 16 years in prison by Judge Robert Miller. The same judge had found Rojo guilty on Aug. 18 of one count of conducting a criminal drug conspiracy, a Super Class X felony, following a three-day bench trial, according to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office.

“The sad truth is that the heroin epidemic in our communities continues to claim dozens of lives every year, which is utterly unacceptable,” state’s attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement.

“While we have made progress in ridding our streets from this poison, we must continue to be vigilant and proactive if we are to bring the number of heroin deaths down to the only acceptable number, which is zero. Today’s sentence sends a message to these poison peddlers that they will be caught, they will be prosecuted and they will spend a significant amount of time behind bars.”

From July, 2010, through June, 2011, an investigation into heroin dealing between the western suburbs and Chicago was conducted by the DuPage County sheriff’s office and the U.S. Office of Homeland Security, according to prosecutors.

The investigation led to Rojo, who was arrested June 18, 2013, and charged with arranging delivery of half a kilo of heroin, prosecutors said. He had remained in jail on a $1 million bond since his arrest.

By law, Rojo must serve at least 75 percent of the sentence before he is eligible for parole, prosecutors said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)