Rogelio Galvan Chavez
|Rogelio Galvan Chavez|
|Born||July 9, 1972|
La Playa Colorada, Jalisco, Mexico
|Occupation||Restaurateur, drug dealer|
|Parents||Fidel Galvan and Micaela Chavez of Panama City, FL|
|Children||Samantha Galvan & Carlos Ivan|
A native of Mexico, Chavez came to the United States in the late 80's, working as a dishwasher and eventually achieving citizenship through naturalization. He owned Cancun's Mexican Grill with locations in downtown Pensacola (which later closed), Gulf Breeze and Navarre. He was sympathetic to the immigrant community and temporarily closed his restaurants during the 2006 Great American Boycott as an act of solidarity.
In February 2007, Chavez and his restaurants became the target of a federal investigation after he began meeting with an undercover DEA source in Atlanta. In taped conversations, Chavez offered to sell the source 100 kilograms of cocaine and 100 pounds of methamphetamine. According to authorities, Chavez knowingly hired illegal immigrants, including Alejandro Hatem-Hernandez, to work in his restaurants and in his drug operations. An acquaintance of Hatem-Hernandez was approached by federal agents and convinced to serve as an undercover informant for the investigation. They tracked the operation to Atlanta and Montgomery, where Chavez procured the drugs to resell in Northwest Florida. He allegedly used code in correspondence — for example, the word "car" represented a kilogram of cocaine, worth about $22,000 — and also sold "any type of firearm that [the informant] desired" through his associates. According to Hatem-Hernandez, Chavez knew the main cocaine supplier in Atlanta, described as a mercenary who would "just go kill anybody," from "when they were kids."
The two Cancun's Mexican Grill restaurants were raided on December 3, along with the 7 Mares restaurant on Pace Boulevard, by state and federal agents. Los Rancheros Mexican Restaurant on Plantation Road was also listed in a 145-page criminal affidavit. The raid resulted in 25 arrests, including Chavez, who was indicted on federal charges of harboring illegal immigrants and conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine. Nine of the other arrestees faced federal charges, one on a separate warrant. Fifteen others were held for deportation. Only Chavez was in the country legally.
His trial before U.S. District Court Judge Casey Rodgers began on February 4, 2008. The prosecution depicted Chavez as a drug kingpin connected with the Mexican Gulf Cartel. Defense attorney Michael Griffin noted that, during the 10-month investigation, his client was never seen completing a drug deal, but prosecutors focused their case on conspiracy rather than distribution. "He used all of the co-defendants to get his drugs out on the street," said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg. "This case is about an organization. This case is about organized crime."
Chavez has a brother, Enrique Chavez, who was also convicted of drug charges in 1998 and is serving a 27 year sentence in Federal Prison.
Chavez's family members, Fidel Galvan and Jesus Galvan, are all restaurant owners in the Florida Panhandle, some include La Fiesta II & III in Panama City FL, where he was emloyed. 'Morelia Fine Mexican Dining in Tallahassee Florida.'Link titleLink title
- "Hispanics show support." Pensacola News Journal, April 29, 2006.
- "Affidavit: Restaurants fronted major drug ring." Pensacola News Journal, December 8, 2007.
- "Business owner guilty on all counts." Pensacola News Journal, February 12, 2008.
- "Feds: Chavez a drug kingpin." Gulf Breeze News, December 13, 2007.
- "Restaurateur faces drug charges." Pensacola News Journal, December 5, 2007.
- "Trial begins in suspected restaurant drug ring." Pensacola News Journal, February 5, 2008.
- "Restaurateur gets life." Pensacola News Journal, April 30, 2008.