Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Drug Kingpin Saul Rodriguez Seeks Deal Like That Given to Other Gangsters for Cooperating

A drug kingpin whose testimony brought down a former Chicago cop and a murderous kidnapping crew is asking for a big break in his upcoming sentencing because of his extensive work as a rat for the government, but prosecutors are balking at the request.

Saul Rodriguez — who killed at least three people, including his best friend, kidnapped dozens of people and put millions of dollars of cocaine and heroin on Chicago’s streets — is seeking a sentence like the ones given to the key witnesses who helped the government break the Chicago mob and the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico.

Nick Calabrese, the top witness in the Family Secrets case against the Chicago Outfit, got a 12 year sentence. And twin brothers Margarito and Pedro Flores each were recently sentenced to 14 years in prison for their cooperation in the investigation of Sinaloa boss Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman Loera, the FBI’s most-sought fugitive until his arrest last year. But federal prosecutors said Rodriguez, whose sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 17, should receive a 40 year prison term because of the particularly evil nature of his crimes.

“Rodriguez had his best friend, Juan Luevano, murdered and then showed up at the funeral acting like a mourner,” according to a filing in federal court in Chicago.

“Rodriguez had 29 individuals kidnapped so that he could steal drugs or money. Six of his victims were children. One was an elderly grandmother.”

In their filing, prosecutors acknowledged that Rodriguez’s help was valuable — among those sent to prison due to his testimony was former Chicago Police Officer Glenn Lewellen — but the case pales in comparison with taking down Chicago’s top mob leaders or the top drug dealer in the world.

“Though Rodriguez’s cooperation was significant, it is inapt to compare it to the Flores brothers who secretly recorded meetings with cartel leaders while in Mexico,” the government said.

“The Flores brothers helped bring down an entire Mexican drug cartel,” the government said, adding that Calabrese “cooperated for seven years, wore a wire against notorious mob killers, testified against his own family and helped solve 13 murders.”

Thanks to a plea agreement, Rodriguez avoided a life sentence, but a “40-year sentence is necessary to ensure that Rodriguez will never again terrorize others for his own benefit,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Block wrote.

Rodriguez has received permission from the court to file his sentencing arguments under seal.

Thanks to Frank Main.

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