Pot train arrives in Chicago with 11 tons of marijuana
Federal authorities in Chicago say they've seized 11 tons of marijuana in Chicago Heights, 30 miles south of downtown Chicago. They say the pot was shipped from Mexico on 6 railroad cars, but a customs and border patrol dog detected the drugs in Eagle Pass, Texas.
The marijuana was shipped in bags made of a tarp-like material and those bags were bundled into so called "super sacks" that were unloaded into a warehouse using forklifts. In each package of marijuana the drugs were surrounded by iron oxide, a powder used to color concrete. Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois says that was likely to disguise the drugs.
"It's alleged in the complaint that that was used to camouflage it. It was around the packages of marijuana and when they looked through it they found the green leafy substance," he said.
Authorities say they had round the clock surveillance on the pot and they've arrested 7 people so far.
Fitzgerald couldn't or wouldn't say if Chicago was the final destination for the pot and Gary Hartwig with Homeland Security Investigations wouldn't estimate how big a dent this would make in Chicago's drug supply.
"The way I look at it is this is 11 tons that won't be on the street. So it's a win-win for everybody," said Hartwig.
According to Hartwig the largest marijuana seizure in the last eight years in Chicago was 8 thousand pounds. This 11 ton shipment works out to about 22 thousand pounds, with an estimated value of $22 million.