Gary was able to land this interview with Joe the Shark Lopez, well known Chicago criminal attorney. He has represented Outfit guys like Frank Calabrese Sr. in the Family secrets trial and many Columbian and Mexican drug kingpins. We learn that Joe Lopez started out to be a divorce attorney until he was given a federal case where a woman was charged with possession of a single kilo. At is first hearing, he obtained a filing of no probable cause and the judge dismissed these charges. Joe the Shark Lopez was hooked on criminal law. We learn he had resisted this because he had known many lawbreakers from his youth who had no money for a lawyer. He thought the way to earn the big money was divorce. He did not predict the huge increase in cocaine clients who actually had money.
The Cocaine Pipeline I-35
Joe the Shark Lopez discloses he learned that once the Columbian cocaine growers and producers started suing Mexican cartels to add cocaine to their regular marijuana smuggling routes, most cocaine traffic moved from Florida to the Texas border with Interstate 35 being the cocaine highway. Chicago is the largest consumer area at the end of that pipeline making a lot of defendants seek out the Shark.
How to dress like the Shark
Joe Lopez dresses the part. he describes his choice in sits as black Armani, his hairstyle is a ponytail, his shoes are expensive pointy-toed Italian and he drives a very nice car.
Civil Asset Forfeiture
Joe Lopez has a lot of experience in dealing with the government seizing assets from purported drug kingpins. He explains how government agents often abused these laws and he was part of a committee that rewrote the Civil Asset Forfeiture rules and procedures.
The Outfit and Cocaine Trafficking
In one large cocaine case, the government charges Outfit associates, Victor Pleschia, Frank Bonavolante, and Camillio Grassi in a multiple kilo cocaine distribution cases. Victor Pleschia hired the Shark. He explains the interesting facts around the case. For example, the prosecution presented evidence that one defendant spent $15,000.oo in one wild Miami weekend and then brought a load back to Chicago. The shark relates how in an unusual twist, the judge appointed two separate juries for two different defendants. Listeners will get a real education inside the criminal justice system from the aspect of a defense attorney.
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