Feds hunt int’l drug ring fugitive

PINOY Newsmagazine/Philippine News
January 2008

By Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — Federal authorities are in hot pursuit of an international drug ring member who may have fled to the Philippines.

This following a massive drug bust, which netted more than a dozen arrests, including a top member of Filipino gang in Chicago.

Carlo Panadero, 36, formerly of suburban Des Plaines, is now considered a fugitive and is “believed to be in the Philippines”, the Department of Justice Northern District of Illinois said.

While refusing “to further discuss the case”, Assistant US Attorney Randall Samborn indicated in a separate interview last December 14, that his office could decide to release a photograph of Panadero to help in his capture.

Panadero, and 20 other defendants, are charged with “conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and more than 500 grams of mixtures containing methamphetamine and quantities of Ecstasy or MDMA.”

Specifically, Panadero aka “Chito” and “Ted”, “a citizen of the Philippines and a lawful permanent US resident,” is accused of being involved in the sale and delivery of 10,000 Ecstasy pills and marijuana, to undercover federal agents, between December 2003 and February 2004.

Panadero’s 27-year old brother, Carlos Jr. or “CJ”, who is in federal custody, is also charged for helping in the negotiation of the drug sale. According to authorities, Carlos Jr. introduced the undercover agents to his brother and another suspect.

The operation, conducted by federal and local Chicago authorities, was the culmination of a four-year investigation into an international drug-trafficking network, authorities said.

The investigation originated from the DuPage County Sheriff’s Department in 2003. Authorities first traced the origin of drug shipment to Canada. The drug shipment would then arrive in Chicago and distributed “by two separate crews with connections in Chinatown and with the Latin Kings street gang.”

“This case demonstrates that law enforcement agencies won’t just stop at county or international borders in their pursuit of international drug-trafficking organizations that invade our communities,” the highly-respected US Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald declared. Fitzgerald was responsible in putting former Illinois Governor George Ryan to jail. He also prosecuted the CIA leak investigation.

Another suspect in custody is Ivan Myint, 38, formerly of Gurnee, who is charged separately in a pending federal case, the 150-page affidavit said. Myint is described as a member “Flip City Kings”, the so-called Filipino-based faction of the Latin Kings street gang in Chicago.

Two years ago, Myint was also arrested and charged with a federal narcotics offense. With the assistance of his brother, Michael, who is also being charged, he reportedly fled to Mexico. Michael also reportedly stored 16,000 Ecstasy pills at his residence and later delivered them to another undercover agent. Michael also allegedly stored drug ledgers for his brother, Ivan.

Still, another suspect is Melvin Dumanlang, who reportedly acted as a lookout during a drug delivery. He also reportedly smuggled into the US drug samples from Canada.

At least 10 of the alleged co-conspirators appeared in court last December 6.

If convicted, each faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life without parole and fines up to $4 million.

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