Cartel Members Admit Smuggling Cocaine to Indiana

All three accused drug traffickers admit they are guilty in the case, signing off on a plea deal with federal prosecutors. The private jet they used to transport 220 pounds of cocaine, packed inside several suitcases, from Mexico to the Gary/Chicago International Airport last November is now officially owned by the American taxpayers. It was seized by U.S. drug investigators.

Former federal marshal in Chicago, Ed Farrell, originally reviewed the case for the I-Team and said drug operatives always look for back doors such as Gary, Indiana.

“They went to a further away airport, which tells me there’s less scrutiny,” Farrell told the I-Team last November.

Three men, suspected by investigators of being deployed by Mexico cartel bosses, were arrested in the case.

The last of the three has pleaded guilty to flying in the cocaine and driving the drug-packed suitcases to a Gold Coast hotel.

The onboard leader of the trafficking scheme, Sebastian Vazquez-Gamez, has admitted to the multi-kilo deliveries. The crime carries a penalty of up to life in prison, although the government will ask for a reduction in his potential sentence.

Federal agents say sales ledgers revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug deals.

There was no inspection of the alleged drug ferrying plane, according to Gary officials, because it had cleared customs in Houston after a flight from Toluca, Mexico.

The plane traveled from Mexico to Texas to Gary on several occasions, and authorities said they had it under surveillance.

As the I-Team reported last November, aviation website FlightAware publicly snapped photos of the jet at several airports in the U.S. and Mexico.

Vazquez-Gamez said there were two “unwitting” passengers on the drug jet with him. It is not known if they were just hitching a ride to Chicago.

The other two drug traffickers who are pleading in this plot were on-the-ground operatives, according to court records. Prosecutors say they moved cartel cocaine through the Midwest and collected cash totaling $5.2 million in drug proceeds. The sentencing will be in January.

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