As their plans to smuggle nearly 11 tons of marijuana into the Chicago area neared fruition, the alleged plotters talked of a celebration that would last two or three days, says the Chicago Tribune. What actually was happening was that six railroad cars carrying the cache of illegal drugs from Mexico had been under 24-hour surveillance for several days by multiple law enforcement agencies.
Surveillance teams of federal agents were on board the train and also provided extra security at layovers as the marijuana made its way here over a five-day journey. Once it arrived at its destination, investigators watched the warehouse with hidden video cameras and from the air as the marijuana was off-loaded. Seven men were charged with drug conspiracy for their alleged roles in the smuggling. Officials called the seizure the largest capture of marijuana in the Chicago area in the last decade and put its estimated value at about $22 million. The investigation was launched last month after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent discovered the marijuana bundled into sacks and camouflaged with a thick layer of red masonry dust on a train near a Texas border town. Authorities allowed the shipment to continue on to the Chicago Heights warehouse, where forklifts were used to move the bundled packages into a second storage facility. The alleged dealers were nabbed red-handed, literally – several suspects had the red dust on their clothes.