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14 charged in Aurora drug sting, 3 still at large

Sun-Times file photo

An almost year-long investigation began its conclusion Friday when authorities arrested nine people on drug and weapons charges in suburban Aurora.

A total of 71 felony drug charges were filed against 14 people, according to the Aurora Police Department. All but one of the suspects were residents of the western suburb.

The investigation used undercover agents, drug and weapons purchases and confidential informants, and included resources from the FBI, Cook County Sheriff’s Department and local authorities.

Several of the charges were listed as “Class-X” felonies, which carry heavier penalties because the drug deals took place near schools, churches and parks, police said.

Nine of the suspects were arrested Friday when about 70 police officers and FBI agents executed search warrants at their homes across Aurora, police said. Multiple ounces of cocaine and methamphetamine, along with eight guns, were seized during the investigation.

Two of the suspects were already in jail and three remained at large.

Alexander Fuentes | Aurora Police Department
Alexander Fuentes | Aurora Police Department

One of the the fugitives, Alexander Fuentes, 20, was charged with 23 felonies, including seven counts of delivery of a controlled substance, four counts of armed violence, five counts of unlawful firearm possession, and single counts of illegal gun sales and unlawful possession of a defaced firearm.

Noe Vargas Jr. | Aurora Police Department
Noe Vargas Jr. | Aurora Police Department

Another fugitive, Noe Vargas Jr., 19, faced 12 charges, including six counts of unlawful sale of a firearm, and three counts each of unlawful possession and use of a weapon, police said.

Jacqueline Castaneda | Aurora Police Department
Jacqueline Castaneda | Aurora Police Department

The third person at large, Jacqueline Castaneda, 26, was charged with one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

The suspects in custody included Nikitas Turner, 33, charged with six counts of drug dealing; Juan Bucio, 21, charged with unlawful possession and selling of a firearm; Tory Payne, 31, of Plano, charged with drug dealing; Kenzail Taylor, 21, also charged with drug dealing; Ricki Rodriguez, 26, charged three counts of selling methamphetamine; and Juan Anaya, 22, charged with three counts of drug delivery near school property, according to police and court records.

Gabriel Guerrero Jr., 24, David Guzman, 21, Ivan Patino, 24, and Jose Meraz, 24, were each charged with two counts of unlawful delivery of drugs, police said. Marcus Serrano, 25, was charged with one count of selling LSD, according to court records.

Police said the investigation was ongoing and that charges against new suspects were possible.

All of the charges were filed by the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.