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Aurorans charged in crack cocaine ring

VernTurner target FBI's 'OperatiFallen Angel.'

Vernon Turner, a target in the FBI's "Operation Fallen Angel."

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at large

Police are still looking for two of the men charged in Operation Fallen Angel:

Steve Langston, 20, 1300 block of Cottonwood Drive, Aurora. He is described as a 5-foot-4, 160-pound black male with black hair and brown eyes.

Ajaie Martin, 29, 2400 block of Marigold Court, Aurora. He is described as a 5-foot-9, 155-pound black male, with black hair and brown eyes.

In 2006, Martin and another man were charged with felonies of vehicular invasion, robbery and mob action after they pulled a man out of his car, then began beating him and threatening to take his car, the Kane County state’s attorney’s office said. A third man took the victim’s vehicle during the fight, prosecutors said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Chicago FBI office at 312-421-6700, Aurora police at 630-256-5000 or your local police department.

— Matt Hanley

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Updated: January 23, 2012 3:55AM

Police say they were not the kind of local businessmen you want in your neighborhood.

And although they were drug dealers, federal affidavits show they had the same concerns as other small businesses: lack of sales, lost merchandise and government interference.

On Tuesday, the FBI and Aurora police announced that after a two-year investigation dubbed “Operation Fallen Angel,” 12 Fox Valley residents — most from Aurora — have been charged with taking part in a cocaine sales ring.

Four Aurora men are facing federal drug charges: Timothy “Chongo” Hill, 28, 800 block of North Gladstone Avenue; Markus “50 Cent” Russell, 23, 400 block of Iowa Avenue; and Vernon Turner, 38, 1800 block of Thornapple Way, were arrested last week without incident, the FBI said Tuesday. Sean Parker Jr., 23, of Aurora, is also facing federal drug charges, but the exact charge was not available. Parker was already in custody on unrelated charges, authorities said.

Hill and Russell were charged with distributing cocaine; Turner was charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine. According to the FBI, those men sold cocaine in Aurora and surrounding communities.

If convicted of drug conspiracy, the men face at least five years in prison and as much as life behind bars.

Six other people are facing state drug charges as part of the operation: Armando Gallardo, 21; Deanna Jones, 42, of Oswego; Daniel James, 55, 400 block of North Lake Street, Aurora; Lakisha Carter, 28, 100 block of Harbor Drive, Aurora; and Eugene Pryor, 23, and Sedrick Jones, 35, both of the 1700 block of Deer Run Drive, Montgomery.

Two suspects remain at large. Aurora police are still looking for Steve Langston, 20, and Ajaie Martin, 29, both of Aurora.

A failing business

The affidavits filed in the case show the elaborate, detailed steps taken by police during the investigation. Police recorded phone calls and took video of drug sales over several months. The affidavits also show enterprising sales associates. Some even offered friendly business advice.

Between Aug. 18, 2010, and Feb. 22, 2011, an undercover officer bought more than 96 grams of cocaine from Hill in 11 separate buys in Aurora and Oswego, the affidavits said.

“Was going to tell you,” Hill offered up as the undercover officer was leaving one sale. “In order to make some good money, always have somebody test (the drugs). If the dope is a better grade, then what you usually give them, you ain’t got to give them as much. It saves you if you don’t have to give as much. That’s how the prices go. If I pay this amount of money, I get this grade of dope. Pay this amount of money, get that grade of dope. There’s A, B, C, and D. Pay top dollar for the A grade, I pay so-so for the B grade, and if just want some cheap (stuff), I get the C grade.”

Other men allegedly pooled their resources to try to stay ahead.

According to affidavits, Parker and Turner were business partners who agreed to buy a kilogram of cocaine together. In March, the men tried to arrange a meeting so Parker could pay Turner the $15,000 he owed for his share. On the afternoon of March 17, Parker and Turner talked on the phone, trying to make sure they were both on the same page about buying the kilogram, according to affidavits.

Parker assured Turner that he still had a “nice chunk” of drugs to sell before the kilogram came in.

“It’s dry as a bone out there,” Turner said. “The only person moving (drugs) is me.”

Turner told Parker to bring the drugs to him and he’d get it moving.

“They were selling like hotcakes,” Turner said. “You can get some more? Cause I told yo I had a (guy) who wants to get it off my hands.”

According to the affidavit, Parker said he needed to make a few more hundred dollars that night so he could pay for his half. He asked Turner to keep the sale on reserve and he’d check back around 2 a.m. to let him know whether he’d raised the extra money.

The next morning, Turner was still $400 short, but Parker agreed to give Turner his half of the drugs, the affidavit says. Police watched as Turner pulled up to Parker’s house.

Almost two hours later, Turner was pulled over near Farnsworth Avenue and Bilter Road. Police found a white box containing three rectangular packages wrapped in electrical tape, the affidavit says.

Within a few hours, Parker was on the phone again with an unnamed person. Parker had heard that Turner had been arrested and was concerned about losing money.

“Sean, listen,” the unidentified caller told Parker. “Just do, you need to hurry up and turn them phones off.”

The FBI said several agencies were involved in the investigation — Aurora police, U.S. attorney’s office, Kane County state’s attorney’s office, Kendall County state’s attorney’s office, Illinois State Police, North Central Narcotics Task Force and Montgomery police.

In announcing the arrests, the FBI said the investigation “targeted known and suspected members of the Maniac Latin Disciples street gang.” It was not clear Tuesday whether the Aurora investigation was related to a Chicago crackdown on the Maniac Latin Disciples.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy declared war on the gang in June after a Maniac Latin Disciple allegedly shot and wounded two young girls on the northwest side. Since then, Chicago police patrol officers have made more than 500 arrests of members of the gang.

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