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Dealing cocaine while union president

Former Teamsters 743 President Hit with New Indictment
by staff |
February 8, 2009
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Chicago, IL - On Jan. 22, another federal indictment was brought against Robert Walston, the former Teamster president who in 2001 and 2004 stole elections in Local 743. This time he is charged with trafficking in cocaine. He had been driving from Chicago to Texas in June 2007 when he was picked up with $135,000 in his car. The Feds had been keeping tabs on him and knew he was going to buy up to 5 kilograms of coke with that money.

At the time he was picked up with all that cash, Walston was still in office. “Apparently he was dealing cocaine while he was union president,” exclaimed Richard Berg, the reform President of Local 743. Surprised by the disclosure, Berg said, “When we ran against them, we members didn’t know the depths of the corruption, but we knew enough to know we had to get rid of the Walston and Lopez gang.”

Two months after Walston was stopped in Texas, he resigned from office and turned the presidency over to his associate, Richard Lopez. Over the years that they and their predecessors had been running the local, they cut deals with companies where workers won little or no gains in wages and benefits. When workers came together with Berg and the New Leadership Slate to take their union back, Walston and his associates engaged in rigging several elections. Indictments were handed down against Walston, Lopez and four others in 2007 and 2008 for those acts.

“The workers stayed together, we won election, we have cleaned up Local 743 and we are building a fighting union now,” said Berg.

Walston’s co-conspirator this time is a man named Victor Matos. The indictment mentions others that were involved but doesn’t give their names. The feds believe that the criminals were trying to purchase upwards of 80 kilos.

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