A Paramount man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for overseeing an international drug ring that used Amtrak trains to ship heroin and cocaine to Chicago from Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.
Edgar Roque, 32, was the leader of an extensive network of drug dealers that moved thousands of pounds of narcotics aboard the trains from 2010 to 2016. At his direction, hundreds of packages were shipped from California to Chicago, St. Louis and elsewhere, each carrying more than three pounds of cocaine and sometimes much more. Authorities said Roque worked with an insider at Amtrak to facilitate the shipments and avoid detection by law enforcement.
Roque pleaded guilty earlier this year to drug and money laundering charges. U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall imposed the sentence Tuesday in federal court in Chicago.
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"This is criminal conduct of the worst kind," federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. "Edgar Roque's leadership role directing the mass movement of heroin and cocaine into the Chicago area and elsewhere showed that he had absolutely no regard for the safety and well-being of addicts and the communities into which he delivered the drugs."
Authorities uncovered Roque's drug-trafficking operation through a multi-year investigation dubbed "Operation Derailed." After selling the drugs, Roque or members of his crew periodically flew west on commercial airlines with the cash proceeds, often carrying $150,000 per person, prosecutors said.