Arizona Inmate Accused of Brokering Drug Sale in Joliet

An inmate in a state prison in Arizona has been charged after allegedly brokering the sale of fentanyl and methamphetamine in Joliet. 42-year-old Manuel Garcia has been charged with distribution of controlled substances. Garcia has been incarcerated since 2010 by the Arizona Department of Corrections. In the summer of 2021, while residing at the Eyman Arizona State Prison Complex, Garcia allegedly coordinated with a buyer outside of the prison to purchase methamphetamine and fentanyl for delivery to Illinois. Garcia negotiated the transaction, including sending photos of the methamphetamine via video chat, using a cell phone he had smuggled into the prison. Garcia had approximately a pound of crystal methamphetamine and nearly 1,000 fentanyl pills sent to the buyer at an address in Joliet. Unbeknownst to Garcia, the buyer was cooperating with law enforcement. On July 8, 2021, law enforcement intercepted the package of narcotics upon arrival at a U.S. Postal facility in Forest Park, Ill. In the days that followed, Garcia allegedly directed the buyer to meet a third party and pay him on Garcia’s behalf for the fentanyl and methamphetamine. On July 14, 2021, with law enforcement covertly watching, the buyer met with Garcia’s representative in a parking lot at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and provided $11,100 as payment to Garcia for the narcotics. Garcia currently resides at the Florence Arizona State Prison Complex. His initial appearance in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.