Courts
Jonathan Miano, The Times

HAMMOND — A man is expected to plead guilty in U.S. District Court to his role in a 2010 drug deal in East Chicago.

Rogelio Maldonado, formerly of River Grove, Illinois, entered a plea agreement Monday. Under the plea agreement, he would plead guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The first charge carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine and a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison plus four years supervision.

The second charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine and a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison to run consecutively to any other prison term.

Maldonado and two other Illinois residents were initially charged in connection with a meeting that took place with a government informant at an East Chicago restaurant. When the informant insisted on seeing the drugs brought to the meeting, Maldonado allegedly opened a hidden compartment in his red truck to reveal bricks of cocaine wrapped in duct tape.

Charges were eventually dismissed against one of the men arrested in the incident, while another man, Hugo Garcia of Chicago, was sentenced to 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to his role in the crime.

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Ed has been with The Times since January 2014. He previously covered government affairs for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers in Florida. Prior to Scripps, he was with the Chicago Regional Bureau of Copley News Service.