Downey man accused in Illinois drug ring

PEORIA, ILLINOIS - A Downey man was one of three people arrested last month and accused of participating in a multi-state drug ring involving hundreds of pounds of cocaine.The Peoria Journal Star first reported the arrest of Downey resident Jeff McWhorter, 33, who was stopped April 24 in an RV traveling on Interstate 55 in Illinois. Police allegedly found 108 kilograms (about 238 pounds) of cocaine stashed inside the RV, which carried an estimated street value of $2.1 million to $3.7 million. Also arrested were Steven Schneppershoff, of Torrance, and Manrique Rivera, of Romeoville, Ill. A man known as "El Gordo" paid McWhorter and Schneppershoff, who are half-brothers, to drive the RV to Joliet, Ill., the two reportedly told police. The men told police they had previously been paid $10,000 to transport 15 pounds of cocaine, the newspaper reported. McWhorter and Schneppershoff met Rivera, an associate of "El Gordo," near the same place they made the first delivery, according to the newspaper. The cocaine was placed inside five duffel bags. Authorities found several duffel bags containing about $550,000 in cash inside Rivera's home, according to a criminal complaint.

********** Published: May 8, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 3