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Cocaine and Heroin: Destroying Two Generations of Three Families

Posted by Howard Wise | May 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

Recently in Chicago, three pairs of fathers and sons were busted for trafficking cocaine and heroin throughout the area, primarily around the Northwest Side of Chicago. 

Their arrests were part of a massive drug bust by the Chicago Strike Force called “Operation Chicago Storm.” The Strike Force reported seizing 100 kilograms of cocaine, 9 kilograms of heroin, 14 firearms, and $600,000 – most likely related to the selling of narcotics. Including the three pairs of fathers and sons, 15 arrests were made in total.

While this has to be seen as a win for drug enforcement and keeping dangerous substances off of our streets, for the families of the arrestees it will likely be devastating – especially for the families of the three pairs of fathers and sons.

Martinez, Martinez, and Vega

Two of the 15 arrested are named Julio Martinez, Jr., of Chicago and Julio Martinez, Sr., of Lawrenceville, Ga. They were picked up along with an associate, Edwin Del Valle, of West Columbia, S.C. Del Valle reportedly stored the group's narcotics in a Portage Park garage.

 The three have been charged with one count of conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally possess heroin with intent to distribute, and one count of conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally possess cocaine with intent to distribute. They were caught after the Strike Force wiretapped cell phones of those related to the trio.

 The second set of father-son arrests also shares the last name Martinez. Israel “Chino” Martinez and his father Juvenal Martinez, both of Plainfield, have been charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The father-son pair was caught after Juvenal was sent by Israel to deliver a kilo of cocaine. But the delivery was made to an informant of the Chicago Strike Force.

 Also charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine were Phillip Vega, of Berwyn, and Jacob Vega, of Chicago. The Strike Force found 17 semiautomatic handguns, 56 rounds of ammunition, 60 grams of cocaine, and a digital scale in Phillip Vega's home.

Let's take a look at what these men now face for getting involved in the “family business.”

How Heroin Laws in Illinois Work

How Heroin Laws in Illinois Work

In our state, drugs are classified from Schedule I to Schedule V.

Heroin is considered Schedule I, the most dangerous classification. Any charge involving heroin is considered a felony under Illinois state law as well as federal law.

Possession of less than 15 grams of heroin is considered a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 or 1-3 years in prison. Possession of 15 grams of heroin or higher requires a mandatory jail sentence starting at 4-15 years. In some cases involving heroin, prison sentences can go as high as 50 years 

Penalties increase not only by the weight or amount of heroin, but also if those arrested have prior offenses on their record or there were other aggravating factors. For example, if the sale or possession of heroin occurs within 1000 feet of a truck stop or school, the sentence may increase. Charges of selling or trafficking heroin also dramatically increase a sentence. 

Julio Martinez Jr. and Sr. were both accused of trafficking. If found guilty, this will severely increase their sentences.

How Cocaine Laws in Illinois Work

Chicago Drug Lawyer

Unlike heroin, cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug. In theory this means that the drug is less severe in the eyes of the law, and there are slight differences in the treatment of Schedule I and Schedule II drugs, but the punishments for cocaine possession, sale, and trafficking are laid out the same under the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act. A more detailed description of the punishments for Schedule I and II drugs is as follows:


<15 grams: Class 4 felony, 1-3 years in prison or a fine of $25,000

15-100 g: Class 1 felony, mandatory 4-15 years

100-400g: mandatory 6-30 years

400-900g: mandatory 8-40 years

Over 900g: mandatory 10-50 years

Any charge involving 100+ grams may also face fines of over $200,000 or the drug's street value.


<1 gram: Class 2 felony, 3-7 years in prison

1-15 grams: Class 1 felony, 4-15 years

15-99 g: Class X felony, 6-30 years

100-399 g: 9-40 years

400-899 g: 12-50 years

Over 900 g: 15-60 years


<15 grams: Class 1 felony, 4-15 years in prison, up to $250,000 fine

15-99 g: Class X felony, 6-30 years

100-399 g: 9-40 years

400-899 g:12-50 years

Over 900 g: 15-60 years

Any trafficking charge involving more than 15 grams is considered a Class X felony and may face fines up to $500,000 or the drug's full street value.

What Happens to These Men – and Their Families – Next

All three pairs of father and sons are facing charges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Now, there is no guarantee that these men will be convicted, but even simply being charged is likely to cause damage to the Martinez and Vega families.

There's the public shame of the charges. The stress of the case. The cost of going through the system. The loss of income – both due to potential incarceration and the difficulty the men are likely to face getting a job even if they are exonerated.

If you are charged with possession of cocaine or heroin, you may face severe consequences. But it's not just you who will suffer from those consequences.

When you protect yourself with a strong defense, you're also fighting for the future of your family and loved ones. If you have been charged or are afraid you might be charged, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer immediately.

About the Author

Howard Wise

A Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Who Understands Both Sides Few attorneys can claim the diverse experience and history of successful cases of Howard J. Wise. The dedicated and talented Chicago defense attorney began his criminal law journey more than two decades ago, when he began studying a...


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