I left home for good at the age of 16 in 1981. From 1977 I resided on the streets of Chicago, but continued to attend “Goudy” public grammar school and “Senn” high school (1 year).
During this time I had gravitated toward José Rodriguez, influential and highly respected street individual. Rodriguez became my mentor in the drug business. From 1977-1981 I had sold only marijuana and Quaaludes. In those days I would “cop-a-lid” of weed for $25 (purchase an ounce of marijuana). I would buy some “zig zag” or “1.5” rolling papers and commence to rolling up approximately 50 to 60 joints and sell each one for a dollar then it go back and “re-up” and repeat the whole process…
Prior to me selling weed (1977 to 81) at the [age] of eleven, I worked at our local drugstore (Elmar drugs). I was a “stock/delivery boy.” Delivery of medication to the elderly (most two lived in high-rise buildings along Sheridan Road) was one of my responsibilities.
My older brother, who was only 13 at the time, was already hip to certain pills that could get you high. One day, as I was on my skateboard, making deliveries, I was approached by my brother and a friend of his, who had inquired as to what was in the bags? As they both rummaged through the various bags I had in my possession, they began to pull out certain containers of drugs. Most appealing to them with bills called “Valium” 5 and 10 mg. They both informed me that we could sell each pill, for whatever they were worth at the time. Due to the fact that I had recently found out that I was getting shafted by my employer (he was paying me in cash and taking out taxes! I’m an 11-year-old kid and you’re taxing me?! Fuck that!) So I didn’t feel one bit guilty about removing a few pills from the containers at the time.
In 1980, one of my best friend’s uncles had just come up from Miami. My friend discovered that his uncle had brought a suitcase full of pills. He didn’t know what kind of pills they were, so quite naturally he brought them to one of the youngest pharmacists in the world, me!
By 1980 I was in fact a connoisseur of various medications. The pills that his uncle had were “714 Lemonheads” (Quaaludes!!) We had struck the mother load! Thousands of pills! His uncle did not have a buyer for the pills, he was actually shopping for one in Chicago. No need now, we were there for him. This business continued off-and-on for approximately one year.
From 1981 to 1984 Rodriguez began to supply me with small amounts of cocaine. E.g., grams and ounces at first. Eventually Rodriguez began to sell me kilograms of cocaine on consignment. During that period I became Rodriguez’s assistant. My responsibilities had been to secure the cocaine in a safe location and then distribute the cocaine to Rodriguez’s customers. Rodriguez personally collected the proceeds from the distribution. I had only one made customer would purchase 1 kg of cocaine a month from me. Christopher Evans was said main customer.
The buyer seller relationship between Christopher and myself continued off-and-on from 1984 to 1990. It should be noted that during this time period (1984) I had invested $7500 with Rodriguez and others into a nightclub called “Coconuts.” Since this was a “silent partnership” with others outside our circle and who were “legit businessmen,” I was placed in charge of watching our investment club, at the age of 19. Although the club was a popular nightspot, we personally rarely made any money. It was actually used as our own open quote hang out.”
[José Rodriguez] was my mentor, and very much a father figure to me. I have a tattoo of him on my back. I will say that the business that I “inherited” from them, really wasn’t much of a business at all. He and I had our own customers. He definitely had more than me, but the people who he dealt with were not the type of customers I wanted to work with. This is where he and I differ… When he passed, those who owed him, never stepped forward to pay. And in this business, they never do.
Six months prior to his passing, he had already pulled out of the club business and invested his money in “other things.” Unfortunately for him, he picked up the bad habit of smoking cocaine. Something that I’ve always despised told him so. He didn’t listen… My “duties” at the club? I was pretty much responsible for the “door,” assistant manager and even sometimes the DJ. That was my hobby for many years, I spun records, yes, actual vinyl records!
At no time during this period did Rodriguez have a consistent regular supplier of cocaine. Rodriguez did not have enough large-scale customers to entice large-scale suppliers. That would all change toward the end of 1986 when Rodriguez began dating Cynthia Pluff…
Cynthia introduced Rodriguez to her family in St. Paul, Minnesota. Rodriguez and the Pluff family, Cynthia, her father, her mother, two of her four siblings agreed to transport and distribute cocaine from Chicago to St. Paul, Minnesota, and to split the profits from the cocaine sales.
In July 1988 Rodriguez died of a cocaine overdose, in Minnesota while in the company of Cynthia Pluff and Rodriguez’s nephew. Since Cynthia had both the business and intimate relationship with Rodriguez she knew who Rodriguez’s suppliers [were] and had dealings with them. Some of the suppliers continued to work with Cynthia directly (one of them being Tirso Rengifo, who in 1989 was in fact arrested just blocks from Cynthia’s home with 3 kilos of cocaine in his car in her address on his person. Three (3) kilos of cocaine being the amount that Cynthia Pluff testified was her average purchase from me on a weekly basis. Nonetheless, during Cynthia’s testimony and cross-examination by my attorney, Mr. Kling, he asked Cynthia the following questions: [Question]: as of July 1988, Rudy Martinez was one of your suppliers of cocaine. Is that right? Answer: After the beginning of 1989, he was my only supplier of cocaine. Question: you got all of your cocaine from him? Answer: Yes. Other suppliers decided to only supply me. At times when Cynthia could not be supplied she would call me to supply her. My business with Cynthia Pluff consisted of a buyer seller arrangement. At no time did I ever split the profits with her or choose the customers who she dealt with in Minnesota, to which she attested at my trial. Our personal and business relationship with each other which is that separate purely physical…
During the period 1988 to 1990 I had supplied Cynthia and CE with cocaine whenever they had no other resources.
At the end of 1990 I had personally orchestrated a twenty-kilo-consignment deal with the supplier, Omar Bulnes. I then consigned those twenty kilos of cocaine to Cynthia and Christopher at 10 kilos a piece prior to delivery of the twenty kilos.
Leo Villars was dispatched by Omar Bulnes to deliver the twenty kilos from Miami to Chicago. On January 18, 1991 during the twenty kilo delivery Cynthia and others were arrested by the DEA because Christopher Evans was a confidential informant for the DEA.
On January 18, 1991, the day of the delivery of the 20 kilos, I had managed to elude the DEA. Nonetheless, they (DEA) had already had my cell phone # and called me that same evening. I spoke to the head agent in charge, Special Agent Maloney. He wanted me to turn myself in, I refused. He then played me a tape recorded conversation of Christopher Evans calling up the mother of my sons (Madeline) at our home and requesting to drop off some money there for me. Even though I NEVER conducted ANY type of business out of my family’s home and Madeleine NEVER had a part in my business, but knew all the players, via coconuts. Madeleine can be heard telling Christopher Evans that he knew better than to be calling the house asking to drop off money! Christopher then told her that he was leaving town and that he’d been paging me in order to meet and turn over the cash that he had owed to me, but I had not responded to his pages. He had convinced Madeleine that I would be upset if I did not receive the money. Madeleine then told him, “hurry up because I’m getting ready to leave the house soon, and don’t be doing this shit anymore!” Meaning not to be calling the house. At that time I believed her phone was tapped. Little did I know that Christopher Evans was holding a mini microphone in his hand at the time while he called Madeline…
After agent Maloney played the tape he told me that if I didn’t turn myself in that they were going to arrest Madeleine. I told him that I needed to contact my attorney first. He gave me the name of the A.U.S.A. that was handling the case and advised me to have my lawyer contact him.
[T]he evening before turning myself in, I was “hiding out” at a hotel in Skokie Illinois. Madeleine and my boys were brought to me. We had double beds in our room. Madeleine slept in one and I in the other. She and I did not talk very much that evening. We were already having relationship issue[s]. I just tried to explain to her all that had transpired in the last 48 hours and what I was preparing to do the following day, which was to meet with my attorney in the morning and turn myself in.
I honestly don’t recall any other conversation with her at that time. Both of my boys slept with me that evening… I woke up at 6 AM. Showered, said a few things to Madeleine and walked over to where my sons were sound asleep… I stood over them and just knew that things would never be the same again… I kissed them both goodbye, and walked out the door. I remember walking down that hallway, and for the very first time in my life, experiencing “vertigo.” I never looked back at that room…
On January 20, 1991, my attorney accompanied me to a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street from the federal building in downtown Chicago, where we met with capital DEA agents and turned myself in…
On January 20, 1991, I was arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute 20 kilos of cocaine. Also arrested were: Cynthia Pluff, Glenna Bolster, April Tapa & Camilo Testa.
This was a DEA case out of Chicago.
Unbeknownst to me and Cindy, the Bureau of criminal apprehension (B.C.A) of Minnesota had been investigating the Pluff family’s drug activity just months prior to the Chicago arrest. Therefore once a connection had been discovered between St. Paul/Chicago, the B.C.A. joined forces with the Chicago DEA.
After the arrest[s] were made in Chicago & St. Paul, they remained separate investigations.
Glenna Bolster was the first of the Chicago defendants to “rat” when she found out a month or so after the arrest that she was pregnant by her ex-con boyfriend, to whom I introduced her.
Sometime between the months of May-December 1991, Cynthia Pluff was transported back and forth from Chicago to St. Paul and “debriefed” in both states by law enforcement officials.
Cynthia Pluff was afforded a “deal” by the AUSA in each city, Chicago & St. Paul, that if she provided information and testimony against the defendants in St. Paul (including her own family!) and Chicago, that she would be removed from the Chicago indictment and placed on the Minnesota indictment, which was only going to be a ten kilo charge.
On May 13, 1991, Cynthia Pluff sat down with the capital AUSA of St. Paul/Minneapolis, Denise Rielly; BCA agent Teresa E. Vandergriff; SPPD officer James Cooper, and drug agent Larry Bergesgaard. During that session, she “fingered” 39 of her customers and suppliers from 1987 to 1991.