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Federal Authorities Say They Have Shut Down Texas-To-Chicago Drug Pipeline With 'Operation Grapevine'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Federal authorities announced Thursday that they have raided a drug stash house in a lakefront condo in the Kenwood neighborhood, as part of a probe that shut down a Texas-to-Chicago narcotics pipeline.

Ten people were facing charges Thursday.

During the investigation "Operation Grapevine," federal agents found cocaine and guns, along with $215,000 in cash, and gold and diamond jewelry with an estimated value of more than $30,000, in the Kenwood condo, according to a news release.

Meanwhile, arrests were made in both Illinois and Texas.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. district Court, Darrin Pulphus, 50, of Tinley Park, is the leader of a drug trafficking organization that obtained and distributed at least 23 kilograms of cocaine in the Chicago area over three months this year. Pulphus obtained the drugs at least twice a month from supplier Curtis Pope, 40, of Houston, Texas, who transported the cocaine in a semi-trailer truck, authorities allege.

Shawn Turner, 37, of Houston, helped facilitate the shipments – often flying between Houston and Chicago to help Pulphus, authorities allege.

Once he made it to the Chicago area, Pope delivered the drugs to Pulphus and other members of his crew in a truck yard in south suburban Riverdale, authorities allege.
Pulphus in turns worked with various distributors to sell the drugs – including David Bowden, 51; Deshawn Walls, 34; Darrell Williams, 45; and Lawrence Johnson, 38, all of Chicago, authorities said. Those four men also stand charged in the case.

Authorities said they seized a handgun and more than 900 grams of cocaine from Johnson after he obtained drugs from Pulphus in April.

The complaint also charges two alleged wholesale customers in Pulphus' organization – Rome Perkins, 60, and Edward Humphrey, 53, both of Chicago. Also charged is Richard Howard, 50, of Chicago, who allegedly helped Pulphus in distributing cocaine.

All the defendants have made their first appearances in federal court, authorities said. Johnson and Walls remained in federal custody Thursday afternoon, while all the others were released on bond.

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