Monday, November 08, 2021

Bombardier CL601 Challenger, XA-UFF: Federal Law Enforcement in Chicago Seizes Private Plane and 100 Kilograms of Cocaine; Three Defendants Arrested

The aircraft that landed at Gary/Chicago International Airport.
U.S. District Court records

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois
Monday, November 8, 2021

CHICAGO — Three individuals have been arrested on federal charges as part of an investigation that disrupted a suspected Mexico-to-Chicago drug pipeline and resulted in government seizures of a private plane and 100 kilograms of cocaine.

Federal agents on Wednesday discovered 80 kilograms of cocaine in a vehicle in Chicago’s River North neighborhood and another 20 kilograms of the drug in a hotel room in the city’s Gold Coast neighborhood, according to criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  The cocaine had allegedly been transported to the Chicago area earlier Wednesday via private plane from Toluca, Mexico, via Houston, Texas.  The plane arrived at Gary/Chicago International Airport in Gary, Ind., and the drugs were driven in suitcases to downtown Chicago, the charges allege.

Two of the defendants – SEBASTIAN VAZQUEZ-GAMEZ, 30, of Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico, and RODRIGO ALEXIS JIMENEZ-PEREZ, 25, of Columbus, Ind. – were arrested Wednesday in downtown Chicago, while the third defendant – SERGIO IVAN BLAS, 39, of Indianapolis, Ind. – was arrested Thursday in the Indianapolis area.  Federal agents today obtained a warrant to seize the private plane, a Bombardier Challenger 600.

A detention hearing for Jimenez-Perez is scheduled for Nov. 9, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes in Chicago.  Vazquez-Gamez is set to appear for a detention hearing before Judge Fuentes on Nov. 10, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.  Blas is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Nov. 9, 2021, in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana.

The charges and arrests were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert J. Bell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; Angie Salazar, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of Homeland Security Investigations; and Justin Campbell, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  Substantial assistance was provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana, and the Chicago Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ashley Chung and Andrew Erskine represent the government.

According to the charges, Vazquez-Gamez arrived on the plane from Houston and loaded suitcases full of cocaine into a Lincoln Navigator sport-utility vehicle.  Vazquez-Gamez and others from the plane entered the Lincoln and were driven to the hotel in Chicago, the complaints state.  Outside the hotel, Vazquez-Gamez loaded some of the suitcases into a Toyota Highlander sport-utility vehicle driven by Jimenez-Perez, the charges allege.  Agents pulled over the Toyota a few blocks away, seized the suitcases containing 80 kilograms of cocaine, and arrested Jimenez-Perez.  Agents later arrested Vazquez-Gamez in his hotel room, where they seized the other 20 kilograms of cocaine, the charges allege.

The complaint against Blas accuses him of directing Jimenez-Perez on where to meet Vazquez-Gamez to pick up the cocaine.

The public is reminded that complaints contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.


Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
USAO - Illinois, Northern
Updated November 8, 2021

Luggage being retrieved from the aircraft that landed at Gary/Chicago International Airport. 
U.S. District Court records

Suspected drugs allegedly found in the hotel room of Sebastian Vazquez-Gamez.
U.S. District Court records

Federal prosecutors sought approval Monday to seize an aircraft that flew last week into the Gary/Chicago International Airport amid an investigation that led to federal drug charges against two people, records show.

Sebastian Vazquez-Gamez and Rodrigo Alexis Jimenez-Perez were each charged Thursday and are being held in custody pending detention hearings, records show. The aircraft in question traveled November 2 from Toluca, Mexico, to Houston, Texas, according to an affidavit filed by prosecutors.

Law enforcement then set up surveillance at the Gary airport in anticipation of its arrival there Wednesday. The aircraft is described in court records as a 1987 Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 601-3A.

The feds say they had previously seen Vazquez-Gamez arrive in Gary from Mexico aboard that aircraft October 19. The plane then departed the same day for Mexico, and its manifest said Vazquez-Gamez was on board. But the feds say surveillance footage showed he remained in the Chicago area.

The aircraft returned to the Gary airport at 6:43 p.m. Wednesday, records show. Afterward, law enforcement saw an airport worker retrieve two black duffel bags — one with a white Puma logo and one with a white Nike logo — from the plane. The employee then retrieved two additional suitcases from the airplane.

While the worker put the luggage on a dolly, law enforcement said they saw three passengers, including Vazquez-Gamez, step off the plane. The passengers then helped the airport worker retrieve additional luggage from the airplane.

The luggage was loaded into a black 2020 Lincoln Navigator, which authorities said they followed until losing sight of it around 7:40 p.m. near North Lake Shore Drive and East Chicago Avenue in Chicago. They then learned its passengers had been dropped off at a hotel in the 100 block of East Chestnut Street.

Authorities later watched as Vazquez-Gamez and Jimenez-Perez loaded two suitcases from the aircraft into a white 2015 Toyota Highlander outside the hotel and drove off with Jimenez-Perez in the driver’s seat.

Jimenez-Perez dropped off Vazquez-Gamez around East Superior Street and North Wabash Avenue, records show. Law enforcement then stopped the Toyota in the 500 block of North Rush Street at 9:23 p.m. Jimenez-Perez allowed authorities to look inside the suitcases, and they said they found about 80 kilograms of what they believed to be cocaine inside.

Jimenez-Perez later allegedly told authorities he hoped the suitcases only contained money and marijuana, but he realized they contained other drugs when he handled them and felt their weight.

Authorities also detained Vazquez-Gamez and said they obtained consent to search his hotel room. There, they said they found 20 kilograms of what they thought was cocaine in a suitcase and duffel bag from the airplane.


  1. So Customs at Hobby let it in so the Feds could see where it went in Chicago.

    1. Feds certainly had noticed that the bird flew that route regularly. Perps should not have repeated so many times, bound to draw suspicion:

      The busted flight, across the UTC day 11/02+03 split:

      Same trip Oct 19th:

      Also 10/05+06, 9/22, 7/30+8/01. Can't be surprised that the flights were noticed and eventually a team monitored what happened on the ground after arriving in Chi-town. Nice snag for the auction!

  2. Iv accidentally see distribution drops from aircraft disguised as flighttraining.