Drug Dealers Met Cops at Applebee’s

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Federal and local law enforcement agents say they have broken up an attempt by a notorious mexican drug cartel to set up illegal operations in the Washington area. (Published Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010)

    Authorities recently filed court papers connected to a huge meth bust by Metropolitan Police Department officers.

    As City Desk already reported via police sources, the cops say a dealer, believed to be a member of Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana, gave the officers pounds of meth "on consignment," and was eventually arrested along with eight others. Court records indicate the dealer wanted $105,000 for the borrowed haul, though; sources had told City Desk it was $103,0000. (But what's a couple grand among friends?)

    Court records also suggest the sting didn't just involve undercover cops getting one drug dealer to trust them -- they had to work their way up starting with Esteban Rodriguez, who allegedly set up a deal for them to buy a kilo of cocaine for $33,000 ($1,000 more than police sources told us). Court records also indicate the dramatic, high-stakes drug game ended up at Applebee's.

    Hoping to convince Rodriguez's alleged supplier to sell to them, the officers took a road trip with the middle man to a destination somewhere in or near Winston-Salem, N.C., earlier this month. There, at a local Applebee's, they said they handed Rodriguez cash for the coke. 

    "A Hispanic male, who has now been identified as Alejandro Quintana Cardenas (“Cardenas”) and an unidentified Hispanic male were also at Applebee's and took possession of the money," court papers say.

    Why gangsters would want to meet up at a place that supplies family fun and pomegranate margaritas, as opposed to a dark and seedy bar, is a bit of a mystery. Maybe the booths at Applebee's supply the necessary privacy to do a proper hand-off? Or maybe they just really like the greasy menu?

    In any event, the drop at what calls itself "the largest casual dining chain in the world" turned out well for the cops. Late that same night, court documents say, "undercover officers met with Rodriguez’s supplier, who then identified himself as 'Flaco,' and has now been identified as Alberto Garcia Calderon (“Calderon”) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where they spent a total of three to four hours talking about future plans for narcotics distribution in the District of Columbia area."

    During their long chat, Calderon negotiated the deal to sell the officers over $100,000 in meth, according to court papers. Pehaps giving a clue as to why drug dealers might end up at a wallet-friendly spot like Applebee's, he also allegedly bemoaned his lack of business success: According to court papers, Calderon said "he was the previous supplier in charge of distribution in the District of Columbia area but has since moved for lack of business."

    Here's a copy of the indictment:

    D.C. Methamphetamine Indictment

    Drug Dealers Met Cops at Applebee’s was originally published by Washington City Paper on Dec 15, 2010