The Loop’s tiniest parking garage racks up yet another gun and drug bust

Genaro Galindo (2018) | CPD

Again? Yes. Again.

The little two-story parking garage at 801 South Wabash, site of a murder, multiple gun seizures, and multiple drug busts since November, has racked up another one. And it’s a doozy.

Cops who walked through the structure around 12:40 a.m. Friday allegedly walked out with two guns, a cache of drugs, and more than $17,000 cash, according to prosecutors. Now, a man who’s already been to state prison twice and federal prison once for gun convictions faces a host of charges.

As cops made their way through the structure, they smelled marijuana burning and saw puffs of smoke coming from a vehicle that was running on the garage’s upper deck, according to prosecutors and police.

The driver looked at them and tried to drive away, but he crashed into a CPD car and then ran, police said. Cops caught him nearby.

While officers chased him down, other cops looked into the vehicle. They saw a loaded handgun on the driver’s floorboard, another loaded gun on the driver’s seat, and a woman sitting in the passenger seat, according to prosecutors.

Police said they seized these guns, drugs, and cash from a vehicle on the top level of the parking garage at 801 South Wabash. | CPD

There were Xanax pills in the driver’s door and ammunition in the center console, prosecutors said. Inside the trunk? According to prosecutors, about a half-pound of pot, an ounce of cocaine, and $17,297 cash.

The driver, 26-year-old Genaro Galindo, 26, is charged with Class X armed habitual criminal, two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon with a previous conviction, felony cocaine possession, manufacture-delivery of cannabis, possession of a controlled substance with intent, resisting police, fleeing and eluding, and failure to give information after a traffic crash.

Prosecutors said he was convicted of state gun violations twice in 2014. He also received a 24-month federal prison sentence for firearm possession in 2016, they said.

Private defense attorney Loren Blumenfeld argued another person was in the car, and the vehicle is not registered to Galindo. Blumenfeld said Galindo has two children and works as a trucker.

Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Galindo held in lieu of $200,000 bail. He’ll need to post a $20,000 deposit and go onto electronic monitoring if he wants to get out of jail, the judge said.

The tiny parking garage, which sits adjacent to East-West University, has experienced more than its share of police activity lately:

On November 30, 16-year-old Ledon Erwin Jr. was fatally shot inside the parking garage. Police found a handgun in his waistband, according to a CPD report.

Erwin was the front seat passenger of a brand new BMW on the first floor of the garage when two masked men approached around 2:37 a.m., police said. The offenders opened fire, shooting him twice in his face. He was pronounced dead about a half-hour later at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. No charges have been filed in the case.

On April 27, police found a gun, pot, and LSD in a fanny pack when they investigated a carload of men who were drinking alcohol in a car at the garage, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors charged 20-year-old Juan Razo with armed violence, resisting police, and two controlled substance counts in that case. Burkhardt told Judge John Lyke that Razo was on probation in Lake County for a gun case and has two juvenile convictions — one for gun possession and the other for reckless discharge of a firearm.

Two nights later, around 9:10 p.m. April 29, cops wandered through the parking garage again and found a minivan running with no front license plate, prosecutors said. When officers looked inside the van, they allegedly saw a scale, 44 grams of cannabis, and small plastic baggies. Jacob Smith, 32, was in the driver’s seat, and the butt of a loaded handgun was sticking out of the back of a passenger seat, prosecutors said.

Smith is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, manufacture-delivery of cannabis, and a motor vehicle title violation. Prosecutors said he’s on probation for another gun case that he pleaded down to a misdemeanor from a felony.

On May 9, witnesses reported hearing shots fired near the garage around 3:15 a.m. No one was injured, but police found shell casings inside the garage.

On June 1, a 23-year-old man was charged with having a gun in a car on the garage’s second floor.

Three days later, police followed an allegedly stolen 2020 Range Rover through the Loop arrested its driver when he pulled into the parking garage, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said police found a loaded handgun in the driver’s door pocket and another loaded gun in the passenger door pocket. The vehicle identification number on the Range Rover’s dashboard was fraudulent, according to prosecutors.

Police arrested the driver, 20-year-old Larry Buford, and prosecutors charged him with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and criminal trespass to a vehicle.

His private defense attorney said Buford thought the car belonged to his friend. And, the attorney said, both of the guns in the car belonged to the passenger. The passenger was not arrested, according to a police spokesperson. In fact, CPD said their report doesn’t even mention the second gun or the passenger.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com