Federal prosecutors made the rare move of seeking dismissal of a three-year-old drug indictment after testimony from a retired Drug Enforcement Administration supervisor who said drugs in Chicago are "typically trafficked by Latino people." The comments seemed to stun defense attorneys and catch the attention of U.S. District Judge John Blakey, who agreed to toss charges pending since 2019 against Leonel Hernandez-Rodriguez, Feliberto Flores-Ramos, Charlie Dotson and Francisco Carranza-Rosales, reports Fox 32 Chicago. The unusual move came more than a month after Keith Billiot, who worked as a DEA supervisory agent, testified about his role in the case during a March hearing. He later walked back his comment following intense cross-examination, telling the judge race was "irrelevant" to the DEA’s work.
Billiot explained what had led him to believe Flores-Ramos and Dotson had been involved in a drug deal Jan. 31, 2019. After naming other factors, including the behavior of the suspects, Billiot said, "In the city of Chicago ... typically it is people of Latino descent are the ones that are supplying people of African American descent or Caucasians, or whatever." Billiot said. "The fact of the matter is that the drugs come up from Mexico or come in from Colombia but they come through Latino countries into the cities throughout the U.S. and therefore they’re typically trafficked by Latino people. So all of that, when you put all of that together, it indicated a narcotics transaction to me." Joseph Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney John Lausch, said that, "after reviewing the matter internally, we decided that moving to dismiss the indictment was the best course of action in this case."