NORTH CENTRAL NARCOTICS TASK FORCE

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Two more plead guilty in Kane County pot bust

Arrests occurred in November 2012 after surveillance

September 17, 2014, Kane County Chronicle

By Eric Schelkopf

Two of the five people charged in 2012 in the trafficking of nearly 600 pounds of marijuana from Arizona to Illinois have pleaded guilty.

Mary Nunez, 59, of Batavia was sentenced to three years in prison. Matthew A. Westerlin, 30, formerly of Elburn, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

They were part of a group that had been under police surveillance for several months before their arrest in November 2012. Police seized 598 pounds of marijuana during the investigation, which included simultaneous traffic stops on four vehicles in Sugar Grove and Aurora.

Westerlin’s wife, Crystal Westerlin, pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to three years in prison. Dean A. Dziuba, 57, of Darien also recently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Richard G. Ecklund, 50, of Batavia pleaded guilty in August. His sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 28.

In November 2012, police pulled over a 2008 Toyota Camry at the intersection of Jericho Road and Route 47 in Sugar Grove, according to reports issued at the time by the North Central Narcotics Task Force. Three other vehicles were stopped on Orchard Road, just north of Prairie Street in Aurora. K-9s alerted police to drugs located in a 2009 Lexus and the 2008 Camry, where police seized 598 pounds of marijuana, reports indicated.

After the traffic stops, police searched homes in the 300 block of Nebraska Street in Elburn and the 2700 block of Sperry Court in Batavia, reports indicated.

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DuPage County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, the North Central Narcotics Task Force, the Illinois State Police, the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

 

3 years in prison for North Aurora drug dealer

 

July 30, 1014, Daily Herald

By Harry Hitzeman

A 20-year-old North Aurora man was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for selling marijuana to undercover police officers.

Kane County Judge Susan Clancy Boles rejected calls for probation from the defense attorney for Krisada M. Cheung, of the 2900 block of McDuffee Drive.

Cheung, who was arrested after members of the North Central Narcotics Task Force searched his apartment on the 200 block of North Lincolnway Street, North Aurora, in July 2012, could have received probation after pleading guilty in May to the felony charge of manufacture/delivery of between 500 grams and 2,000 grams of marijuana.

But Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Mark Stadjohar argued that Cheung, who was still on probation for a juvenile aggravated assault offense at the time of his arrest, had effectively thumbed his nose at probation and conditions of his bond. Cheung failed to report an address change, made minimal progress on his GED since being expelled from high school, and tested positive for drugs at least twice in court-mandated tests, including one last month. He pleaded guilty in May to the felony marijuana charge, Stadjohar argued.

"He thinks everything is a joke," he said. "Probation is not a viable option for this defendant. It's done nothing to change his behavior."

Defense attorney Liam Dixon argued for probation and said Cheung had accepted responsibility for his actions.

Dixon said the marijuana charge, along with failing to report an address change, were both nonviolent crimes and Cheung, whose first language is not English, may have been confused by a probation form to report a change of address.

"This is somebody that the state does not need to spend money on to send to prison," Dixon said.

Cheung could have received up to seven years on the drug charge. He can have his sentence cut in half for good behavior.

He also was assessed a drug fine of $16,000, in addition to other fees.


 

Two men staying at St. Charles hotel face felony drug charges

July 16, 2014, Kane County Chronicle

By Staff Writer

ST. CHARLES – Two men who were staying at a St. Charles hotel face felony drug charges following an investigation into illegal drug distribution, according to a news release from the North Central Narcotics Task Force.

Trevor S. Brubaker, 21, is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, a Class 3 felony; possession of a controlled substance, clonazepam, a Class 4 felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor.

Ryan M. Kitowski, 21, is charged with possession of a controlled substance, heroin, a Class 4 felony; possession of a controlled substance, clonazepam, a Class 4 felony; possession of a controlled substance, Adderall, a Class 4 felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor.

The release indicates both men are of St. Charles.

At about 6:30 p.m. July 8, the task force – which had gotten information from the St. Charles Police Department – reportedly searched the hotel room where Brubaker and Kitowski were staying, the Best Western at 1635 E. Main St.

According to the release, agents seized about 50 grams of marijuana, less than 1 gram of heroin, 30 Adderall pills, 15 clonazepam pills and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

The men were taken to the Kane County jail.

Brubaker’s bail was set at $25,000 with 10 percent to apply, and Kitowski’s was set at $50,000 with 10 percent to apply, the release states.

Online records for the Kane County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday showed Kitowski remained in custody, while Brubaker was not.

Those with information about illegal narcotic activity are asked to call the narcotics task force at 630-264-4335 or visit www.ncntf.org.


 

Two Algonquin men arrested for multiple drug charges

 

June 30, 2014, Northwest Herald

By Staff Writer

ALGONQUIN — Two Algonquin men were arrested Friday for multiple drug charges, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff's Office.

The arrests of Anthony T. Lira, 20, and Anthony M. Lira, 43, occurred during the execution of a search warrant at 1120 Fox River Drive in Algonquin, the release states.

Conducting the search were members of the McHenry County Sheriff's Police Narcotics Task Force, Illinois State Police North Central Narcotics Task Force, and Drug Enforcement Administration.

Anthony T. Lira was arrested on charges including unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. He also had an arrest warrant for an unrelated charge of unlawful possession of marijuana. His court date is set for July 17.

Anthony M. Lira was arrested on charges including unlawful delivery of marijuana, unlawful possession of marijuana, violation of bail bond, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Anthony M. Lira's court date is set for 9 a.m. July 3.

The release further states deputies seized roughly 120 grams of marijuana, one digital scale, packaging materials, and multiple items of drug paraphernalia.

The street value of the drugs was estimated at $1,500, according to the news release.

The bonds for Anthony T. Lira and Anthony M. Lira are set at $1,500 and $5,000, respectively.


 

St. Charles couple, son charged in marijuana, scheme

Daily Herald, June 19, 2014

By Harry Hitzeman

A St. Charles couple has been charged in a money laundering scheme involving marijuana shipped from California by their son, authorities said.

Anthony and Gina Salemi, 56 and 52, respectively, were arrested last week after an investigation of several agencies and charged with felony money laundering.

Authorities say the couple's son in California mailed marijuana to the Salemis' home on the 5N400 block of Glen Oak Lane. Authorities say money from selling the drugs was sent back to Nicholas Salemi, 24, in Fallbrook, Calif., to buy more drugs and have them mailed to St. Charles.

According to the Kane County state's attorney's office, marijuana was mailed between Feb. 19 and April 2, 2014.

On June 11 authorities searched the Salemis' home in St. Charles, seizing drug paraphernalia, marijuana and marijuana plants. At the same time, authorities arrested Nicholas Salemi and Maryhelen Kwiatkowski, 32, at their home.

Nicholas Salemi, formerly of St. Charles, is charged with money laundering and four counts of delivery of marijuana, the most severe charge carrying a maximum 15-year prison term if convicted, authorities said.

Kwiatkowski also is charged with two counts of marijuana delivery, the most severe charge carrying up to seven years in prison. Probation also is an option.

Both were being held by San Diego County authorities and are awaiting extradition to Kane County, when their initial court dates will be set.

Master Sgt. Bill Backus of the North Central Narcotics Task Force, which is a unit of the Illinois State Police, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The task force is listed in court records as the charging agency in the case.

James Casement is the defense attorney representing Anthony and Gina Salemi.

"They maintain their innocence and we hope that justice will be served," Casement said of the couple.

According to court records, Anthony and Gina Salemi did not have any previous arrests.

They are both free after posting bond -- Anthony $18,000 and Gina $5,000 -- and are due in Kane County court Friday.

If convicted, they each face between two and five years in prison. Probation also is an option.

According to Kane County court records, Nicholas Salemi was arrested in September 2007 on charges of domestic battery and later received supervision. He also was arrested on felony ecstasy charges in May 2008, but the charges were later dismissed. He also was cited for disorderly conduct and underage drinking in Elburn in August 2009.

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon thanked U.S. Postal Inspectors, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security agents, the Illinois attorney general's office and investigators from the North Central Narcotics Task Force.

"This interagency cooperation is vitally important in keeping illegal drugs off the streets," McMahon said.

 

Police: Elgin man caught with 2 pounds of marijuana

Daily Herald, May 20, 2014

By Harry Hitzeman

A 21-year-old Elgin man was arrested Monday on charges he possessed more than 2 pounds of marijuana, according to authorities and court records.

Christian A. Rodriguez was arrested at his residence by members of the North Central Narcotics Task Force, a unit of the state police.

"It was a search warrant executed at (Rodriguez's) residence in the 400 block of Hendee," said Illinois State Police Master Sgt. and Task Force Director Bill Backus. "It's been a two-month investigation I would say at this stage."

Backus said authorities seized 1,068 grams of marijuana, equivalent to about 2.3 pounds, along with $2,800 cash and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

Backus said the marijuana has an estimated street value of $3,000.

According to Kane County court records, Rodriguez was charged with felony burglary in September 2011 in Elgin. He pleaded guilty three months later and was sentenced to two years probation and 60 hours of community service.

Rodriguez was arrested in Elgin in January 2013 on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia to which he pleaded guilty and was given conditional discharge -- a form of probation -- and ordered to complete 25 hours of community service.

A violation of probation hearing, in which prosecutors could argue Rodriguez be resentenced to prison, is scheduled June 5, records show.

Rodriguez was being held at the Kane County jail on $60,000 bail.

He is next due in court May 28 and faces anywhere from probation to seven years in prison if convicted.

 

North Aurora man guilty of possessing nearly 2 pounds of pot

Daily Herald, May 19, 2014

By Harry Hitzeman

A 20-year-old North Aurora man pleaded guilty to felony drug charges from a July 2012 arrest on his way to sell a half pound of marijuana to undercover officers, a according to authorities and court records.

Krisada M. Cheung, of the 200 block of North Lincolnway Avenue, faces anywhere from probation to seven years in prison when sentenced July 30 by Kane County Judge Susan Clancy Boles.

Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Bill Backus said Cheung was arrested at 5:02 p.m. July 27, 2012, at Indian Trail Road and North Highland Avenue in Aurora on his way to meet an undercover officer from the North Central Narcotics Task Force, which is division of the state police.

"He had previously delivered cannabis to undercover officers three times before his arrest," Backus said. "He was en route to meet the undercover officer when he was arrested."

Authorities found 245 grams, or about one-half pound, of marijuana in Cheung's vehicle and later searched his residence, seizing another 579 grams of marijuana, Backus said. The total weight of the marijuana was about 1.8 pounds.

Police also found 86 grams of synthetic marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, digital scales, packaging material and about $2,200 cash, Backus said.

The street value of the marijuana was estimated at $3,000 by Backus.

In the plea agreement, which was approved Thursday by Boles, prosecutors dismissed the less severe charges for the synthetic marijuana and mushrooms, according to court records and Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Mark Stadojhar.

Cheung entered a cold plea in which a defendant does not have an agreed upon sentence with prosecutors before admitting guilt and instead leaves it in the hands of a judge.

Probation, jail for Elgin man’s 6.5-pound pot package

Daily Herald, March 21, 2014

By Harry Hitzeman

A 43-year-old Elgin man who was arrested in December 2013 on charges he had a 6.5-pound package of marijuana mailed to him from California pleaded guilty this week and was sentenced to 30 months probation, according to Kane County court records.

German Reyes, of the 400 block of Villa Street, also spent 105 days is jail, was fined $8,400 and could be resentenced to between four and 15 years in prison if he violates probation.

Kane County Judge John Barsanti accepted the guilty plea Thursday from Reyes, who had no previous criminal record in Kane County.

Reyes was arrested by members of the North Central Narcotics Task Force, a unit of the state police, after he accepted a package from California containing nearly 6.5 pounds of marijuana, a value of about $16,000, authorities said.

The task force also worked with the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office to make the arrest.

The plea agreement actually mandated a 180-day jail sentence, records show. Reyes was eligible to have it halved for good behavior and had already spent 105 days behind bars so he was released.

He was being held on $750,000 bail since his arrest.

Police: Man caught with pot-laced chocolate bars

Daily Herald, February 13, 2014

By Harry Hitzeman

Authorities arrested a 31-year-old Kane County man Wednesday afternoon after a 42-pound shipment of marijuana-infused chocolate bars was delivered to his home from a California medical marijuana dispensary, police said.

Thomas J. Franzen, of the 900 block of Harmony Lane, Montgomery, was arrested about an a hour after the package arrived and authorities executed a search warrant, Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Bill Backus said.

“It was actually 42 pounds of cannabis-laced chocolate edibles from a company in California. We are alleging that, yes, he had it shipped to him,” said Backus, director of the North Central Narcotics Task Force, a division of the state police.

Backus said the package contained 430 individually foil-wrapped bars that retail for $13, a total of nearly $5,600.

Franzen is charged with five felony counts of cannabis trafficking and possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis, according to court records.

The charges carry a possible penalty of six to 30 years in prison with no possibility of probation.

Bail for Franzen was set at $150,000; his next court date was not immediately available Thursday.

Backus said police also seized $2,275, 102 grams of marijuana, and found suspected drug ledgers, both electronic and handwritten, from Franzen’s home. The search warrant was executed about an hour after the package was delivered, he said.

“We have communicated with authorities in California and they are working on an investigation,” Backus said. “At this point, we don’t believe anyone else was involved in the Chicago (suburban) area.”


 

 

Former Crystal Lake man charged with shipping marijuana to area

Northwest Herald, January 24, 2014

By SHAWN SHINNEMAN - sshinneman@shawmedia.com

CRYSTAL LAKE – A former Crystal Lake resident was arrested Thursday on charges of allegedly trying to ship 18 pounds of marijuana to the area from his home in California.

Jesse Jacoby, of Fort Bragg, Calif., is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and marijuana trafficking, both Class X felonies. He also faces a Class 1 felony possession of marijuana charge.

Police say Jacoby, who moved out of the area about a year and a half ago, was sending the marijuana to himself and then traveling to the area to retrieve it, said Bill Backus, director of the North Central Narcotics Task Force.

All 18 pounds of the drug were packaged in one shipment, he said.

Jacoby was arrested by the task force at about 4 p.m. Thursday on the 400 block of Golf Road, Crystal Lake, where he was staying with family, Backus said.

Backus said police in California are still investigating the source of the marijuana and working to see whether any others were involved.

"On this end of it, it’s pretty cut and dried," he said. "On that end of it, we’re still working with authorities out there."

 


Cops: 6 pounds of pot mailed to Elgin man

Daily Herald, December 9, 2013

By Harry Hitzeman

A 43-year-old man is accused of having someone mail nearly 6.5 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated value of $16,000, from California to his Elgin home.

The North Central Narcotics Task Force, a special unit of the Illinois State Police, was waiting for German Reyes to accept the package Friday morning at his home on the 400 block of Villa Street and they arrested him.

“We observed Mr. Reyes take possession of the box which contained six vacuum sealed bags, totaling approximately 2,900 grams, which field tested positive for the presence of marijuana,” said Illinois State Police Sgt. Bill Backus, director of the task force. “It was a joint investigation between the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office and the North Central Narcotics Task Force.”

The most severe charge against Reyes, possession of between 2,000 and 5,000 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver, carries a prison term of between four and 15 years. Probation also is an option; court records show that Reyes does not have any previous felony arrests in Kane County.

Backus said no one else was at Reyes’ home at the time of this arrest Friday. Reyes invoked his right to remain silent and didn’t answer questions about who dropped the package into the mail, Backus said.

“We are working with the Postal Inspector Service to try and find out the sender’s information from California,” he said.

Reyes is being held on $750,000 bail, meaning he must post $75,000 to be released while the case is pending. He is next due in court on Dec. 19

 

Couple indicted in selling synthetic marijuana through Algonquin tobacco shop


October 11, 2013, Northwest Herald

By Shawn Shinneman

ALGONQUIN – An Elgin man charged last month in connection with selling synthetic marijuana through his Algonquin tobacco shop now faces more serious charges after he was indicted by a statewide grand jury Thursday.

A multi-jurisdictional investigation also brought about charges for the man's wife.

John G. Monteleone, 45, and Tracy L. Monteleone, 43, both of the 100 block of Brookside Drive, Elgin, each faces charges from a three-month investigation by the North Central Narcotics Task Force and the Algonquin Police Department.

On Sept. 25, the agencies executed a search warrant at John Monteleone's business – King Puff-N-Stuff, 1409 Commerce Drive, Algonquin, according to a news release by the Kane County State's Attorney's Office.

Police seized close to 200 grams of an analog of a synthetic cannabinoid commonly referred to as "spice." During a search at the couple's Elgin residence, police found an additional 3,200 grams of the substance, the release said.

Tracy Monteleone had not been charged, and John Monteleone hadn't previously been facing the most serious charge – possession of more than 200 grams of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class X felony – before Thursday's indictment.

Both now could be sentenced to between six and 30 years in state prison if convicted of the most serious charges, according to the release.

In all, John Monteleone now faces charges of possession of more than 200 grams of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class X felony; possession of more than 200 grams of a controlled substance, a Class 1 felony; possession of between 50 and 200 grams of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class 1 felony; three counts of delivery of less than 50 grams of a controlled substance, a Class 2 felony; possession of less than 200 grams of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony; possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor; and possession of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor, the release said.

Tracy Monteleone is charged with possession of more than 200 grams of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class X felony, and possession of more than 200 grams of a controlled substance, a Class 1 felony, the release said.

John Monteleone, who had been released after previously posting $8,000 bond, now faces a $500,000 bond.

Tracy Monteleone's bond was set at $25,000. She posted $2,500 and was released.

 

 

St. Charles man to serve probation for drug charge

July 19, 2013, Kane County Chronicle

By Ashley Sloboda

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A 21-year-old St. Charles man was sentenced this month to 30 months of probation after he pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana, according to Kane County court records.

Clark C. Weaver was charged with that felony and others last year when authorities from the North Central Narcotics Task Force and the St. Charles Police Department seized about $50,000 in marijuana and other controlled substances, authorities have said.

Authorities reportedly collected 2,002 grams of marijuana, 505 grams of THC-laced candies and gum, 35 grams of THC oil, 30 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 0.45 grams of cocaine and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia from an apartment in the 100 block of Walnut Drive in St. Charles.

On July 10, Weaver pleaded guilty to felony possession of 2,000 to 5,000 grams of marijuana as part of a plea agreement accepted by Judge Clint T. Hull, according to court records.

In exchange, court records show, his other charges – felony possession with intent to deliver, two counts of felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia – were dropped.

Weaver was sentenced to 30 months of probation and fines and costs totaling $8,335, according to court records.

Elgin Cocaine Dealer Gets 5 Years in Prinson

Daily Herald, May 13, 2013

By Harry Hitzeman

A 32-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to cocaine charges from an arrest in Elgin last July, according to court records.

Jayson P. Sturdivant, of the 1100 block of Morton Avenue, Elgin, was on probation for a felony drug charge in 2010 when he was arrested last summer after authorities raided his home.

Sturdivant was to go on trial Monday, but pleaded guilty late Friday in exchange for prosecutors dropping the most serious charges that could have landed him in prison for up to 30 years, records show.

Under Illinois law, he can have his sentenced halved for good behavior. He also gets credit for 296 days spent in the Kane County jail while his case was pending.

Sturdivant was arrested July 19, 2012, after the North Central Narcotics Task Force, a unit of the Illinois State Police, searched his home and found 19 grams of cocaine, 2.5 pounds of marijuana, $2,300 and scales. He was charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school; in this case Coleman Elementary, 1220 Dundee Ave.

The felony conviction carried a prison term of six to 30 years with no possibility of probation.

Prosecutors dropped that charge as part of the guilty plea, which was accepted by Kane County Judge Clint Hull, according to court records. Sturdivant also was fined $1,955.

Elgin police also arrested Sturdivant July 15, 2010, and he was charged with felony marijuana charge, records show. He faced up to seven years in prison for possession with intent to deliver 30 to 500 grams of marijuana within 1,000 feet of Larkin High School in Elgin. He pleaded guilty and received 30 months probation. He also spent 18 days in the county jail, records show.

 

Sheriff Arrests Richmond Men on Weapons, Drug-Related Charges

May 11, 2013, Algonquin – Lake in the Hills Patch

By Staff Writer

 

McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said officers from the Narcotics Unit seized five handguns, $23,141 in cash and about $56,460 worth of marijuana.

 

Two Richmond men were arrested earlier this week for weapons and multiple drug-related charges.

 

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit, which includes officers from the Lake in the Hills Police Department, conducted a joint narcotics investigation with the Palatine Police Department and the Illinois State Police North Central Narcotics Task Force (NCNTF).

On Monday, May 6, members of the county's SWAT team, Narcotics Unit, K-9 Unit, and NCNTF conducted a search warrant at the address of 9702 N. Clark Rd. in Richmond, according to a release issued by Sheriff Keith Nygren.

 

During the execution of the search warrant, one of the residents was arrested for multiple drug charges and weapons offenses. The second resident was arrested two days later after investigators obtained an arrest warrant for him, Nygren said.

 

As a result of the search warrant, deputies seized five handguns, brass knuckles, switchblades, about 2,823 grams of cannabis (6.2 pounds), three digital scales, packaging materials, and $23,141, according to the release.

 

Nygren estimates the street value of the cannabis to be approximately $56,460.

According to the press release, the two men arrested were charged with the following offenses:

 

Gregory Cantu, 47, 9702 N. Clark Road, Richmond.

·                                 Unlawful possession of cannabis with intent deliver (Class 1)

·                                 3 Counts unlawful possession of cannabis (Class 2)

·                                 Unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (Class A)

·                                 Unlawful use of a weapon (Class A)

·                                 Unlawful possession of a firearm without a FOID (Class A)

Cantu's bond was set at $70,000, and he is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m.
May 29.

 

Gregory Cantu, 27, of the same address, Richmond.

·                                 Unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver (Class 1)

·                                 Unlawful possession of cannabis (Class 2)

·                                 Unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (Class A)

 

Bond for the younger Cantu was set at $80,000, and he is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. May 29.

Probation, $34,000 fine in Elgin indoor pot growing case

March 22, 2013, Daily Herald

By Harry Hitzeman

A 55-year-old Elgin man was sentenced to three years probation and fined a little more than $34,000 after pleading guilty to possession of more than 50 marijuana plants, according to court records.

Justin B. Brooks was arrested in October 2012 after members of the North Central Narcotics Task Force, a special unit of the Illinois State Police, searched his home in the 9N700 block of Whispering Springs Lane.

Authorities said they seized 77 plants worth an estimated $154,000. Equipment for the growing operation, packaging materials and scales also were seized, officials said.

Brooks served two days in jail before posting bond and initially pleaded not guilty in mid-February, according to court records.

Brooks reached a plea agreements this week, admitting to possession of between 50 and 200 marijuana plants, a felony that was eligible for probation but also carried a top prison term of seven years.

If Brooks violates probation before March 2016, he could be resentenced to time behind bars.

Brooks' defense attorney, James Tatooles, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Kane County Judge Karen Simpson accepted the plea.

Brooks did not have any previous felony arrests in Kane County before the October arrest.

 

Two held after St. Charles bust nets cocaine, marijuana

Two St. Charles residents face felony drug charges after a state police unit searched their home and seized two ounces of cocaine and two pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of between $6,500 and $11,100, authorities said.

Michael Stellwagen, 42, and Susanne L. Russell, 52, both of the 43W700 block of Fescue Court, are both free on bond and due in court Feb. 6.

Stellwagen is charged with felony possession of between 15 and 100 grams of cocaine with intent to deliver, possession of 500 to 2,000 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records.

The most serious charge carries a penalty of six to 30 years in prison if convicted with no possibility of probation.

Russell is charged with possession of 15 to 100 grams of cocaine and 500 to 2,000 grams of marijuana, according to court records, and faces up four to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Illinois Police Master Sgt. Bill Backus, who also is director of the North Central Narcotics Task Force, said authorities executed a search warrant at about 10 a.m. Friday at the home and seized 51.2 grams of cocaine, 1,017 grams of marijuana, and other items, such as scales. Stellwagen was arrested on the spot; Russell went to the St. Charles police station later for questioning and was later arrested.

Stellwagen does not have any previous drug arrests in Kane County. He was arrested in May 2010 in South Elgin and faced a driving under the influence charge which was later reduced to reckless driving, court records show.

Russell does not have any previous arrests in Kane County, according to court records.

 

Five Charged with Marijuana Trafficking 

The KANE COUNTY CHRONICLE, November 15, 2012

By Staff Reporter

 

 

Authorities say five people have been charged for trafficking nearly 600 pounds of marijuana from Arizona to Illinois.

The group had been under surveillance for three months by several police agencies before the investigation concluded Tuesday, according to a news release from the North Central Narcotics Task Force. Police seized 598 pounds of marijuana during the investigation.

Those charged with marijuana trafficking, possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana include Richard G. Ecklund, 48; of the 2700 block of Sperry Court in Batavia; Dean A. Dziuba, 55, of the 1100 block of Lodgepole Court in Darien; Matthew A. Westerlin, 28, of the 300 block of Nebraska Street in Elburn; and Crystal L. Westerlin, 29, of the 300 block of Nebraska Street in Elburn.  Mary L. Nunez, 57, of the 2700 block of Sperry Court in Batavia, was charged with marijuana trafficking.

Bond was set Wednesday at $35 million for Ecklund, Dziuba, and Crystal and Matthew Westerlin. Bond for Nunez was set at $27 million.

In September, authorities received information about a marijuana trafficking organization based out of Kane and McHenry Counties, according to the release. The information led police to figure out the group's shipping schedule and had learned when the next shipment would be.

During several days in November, police surveyed the suspects as they traveled from Arizona to Illinois, according to the release.

Around 8 p.m. on Tuesday, authorities conducted simultaneous traffic stops on four vehicles occupied by the suspects.

Police pulled over a 2008 Toyota Camry at the intersection of Jericho Road and Route 47 in Sugar Grove. Three other vehicles were stopped on Orchard Road just north of Prairie Street in Aurora. Authorities detained seven people at that time, and three were released pending further investigation, which may result in additional charges.


K-9s alerted police to drugs located in a 2009 Lexus and the 2008 Camry, where police seized 598 pounds of marijuana. Following the traffic stops, police searched homes in the 300 block of Nebraska Street in Elburn and the 2700 block of Sperry Court in Batavia. They seized three firearms from the Batavia residence.

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DuPage County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, the North Central Narcotics Task Force, the Illinois State Police, the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office and the Kane County State's Attorney's Office.


Copyright © 2012 Kane County Chronicle. All rights reserved.


Special Delivery: Eight Arrested in Cannabis by Mail Operation

The Courier-News, October 31, 2012

From Staff Reports

 

Eight men, including several from the Dundees and Elgin, were arrested on cannabis possession charges following an investigation into marijuana being mailed to a home in Cary, authorities said.


The arrests were made by agents from the North Central Narcotics Task Force and the U.S. Postal Service, with the assistance of the Crystal Lake and McHenry County Sheriff’s police.

According to a release issued Wednesday from the task force, law enforcement personnel received information that a package containing a substantial amount of cannabis had been mailed from California to a residence in the 700 block of Laurel Lane in Cary.


The task force and Postal Service executed a search warrant at the residence last Friday. During a search there, agents seized approximately 2,159 grams (about five pounds) of marijuana, approximately $1,500 in cash and numerous items of drug paraphernalia.


Charged with unlawful possession of cannabis and unlawful possession with intent to deliver were Joshua R. Ernst, 21, of Elgin; Jesse C. Peterson, 20, of West Dundee; Jacob N. McGowan, 21, of East Dundee; Eli P. Kulack and Ryan D. Kennedy, both 21 and both of Algonquin; Maurice R. Lebbos, 20, of Cary; and Dylan J. Trama, 20, of Barrington. Nicole B. Lebbos, 19, of Cary, was charged with misdemeanor unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.


The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are being reviewed by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, the release said.

Task Force Arrest 2 St. Charles Men, Seizes Cannabis, Drugs

 Kane County Chronicle, October 31, 2012

By Staff Writer

 

In addition to 2,002 grams of cannabis, authorities seized 505 grams of THC-laced candies, 35 grams of THC oil, 30 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 0.45 grams of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Two St. Charles men faced drug charges after authorities seized $50,000 in marijuana and other controlled substances from an apartment on the 100 block of Walnut Drive, the Kane County Chronicle reported Wednesday.

The Chronicle, citing a release from the North Central Narcotics Task Force, reported that Clark C. Weaver, 20, is charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, a Class 1 felony; possession of marijuana, a Class 2 felony; two counts of possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor, the Chronicle reported. Edward E. Spitzer III, 20, of St. Charles, also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor.

St. Charles Police participated in the enforcement action, the task force told the Chronicle.

Cops Bust Indoor Pot Growing Operation near Elgin

Daily Herald, October 30, 2012

By Harry Hitzeman

Authorities have busted an indoor marijuana growing operation near Elgin, seizing 77 plants worth a total of $154,000, according to police and court records.

Justin Brooks, 54, of the 9N700 block of Whispering Springs Lane, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of felony production of between 50 and 200 marijuana plants, according to court records.

Brooks was arrested earlier this month after an investigation by the North Central Narcotics Task Force, which is a division of the Illinois State Police.

Lt. Bill Backus, the task force’s executive director, said authorities received information that Brooks was growing marijuana.

“It was a multistage indoor cannabis grown operation in his basement, we’re alleging,” Backus said. “We had information he was involved in cannabis production. Some were seedlings, some were larger. It was an ongoing operation.”

Each plant was valued at $2,000 and authorities said the plants were in different stages of cultivation.

“They were some quality cannabis plants, I would say that much,” Backus said. “It certainly was not low-quality marijuana.”

Backus also said that authorities seized drug paraphernalia, scales and other packaging material from Brooks’ home.

He is free after posting $10,000 bail and is next due in court on Dec. 14.

A message left with Brooks’ defense attorney, James Tatooles, was not returned.

 

St. Charles Man get 6 Years on Drug Charges

Kane County Chronicle, October 25, 2012

By Al Lagattolla

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A 26-year-old St. Charles man was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday, months after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

It was the lightest sentence that Justin J. Heneghan could receive on the Class X felony. Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon cited a 17-page letter that Heneghan had written, explaining a difficult past, in which Heneghan's father was killed when he was just 8 years old. Sheldon also mentioned that he was encouraged that Heneghan had turned to religion.

Assistant State's Attorney Christina Wascher had argued for a 12-year sentence. Heneghan could have been sentenced to as much as 30 years in prison. Heneghan will be given credit for at least 882 days he has spent in jail.

The incident took place on May 27, 2010. Officers from the North Central Narcotics Task Force served a warrant at Heneghan's home. Heneghan leaped out of a second-story window and fled, but he was taken into custody. Officers found 191 pills of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, and 135.4 grams of marijuana. He also attempted to flee from a police vehicle on his way to the Kane County jail.

He also pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated battery to a police officer, a count of unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and a count of attempted escape. He was charged with five years each on those counts, but they will be served concurrently.

At his sentencing hearing Thursday, Heneghan's grandparents testified that he had made a change in his life, but that he needed treatment for a drug addiction.

Heneghan was represented by Michael Tatman, a Kane County assistant public defender. Tatman argued that Heneghan had taken responsibility for what he had done and "is here to accept that punishment." Tatman argued for the six-year sentence, saying it was appropriate.

"It is a very lengthy sentence," Tatman said. "It's not letting him walk."

Wascher acknowledged that Heneghan had an "absolutely horrific childhood," but she said that as an adult, Heneghan needed to accept more responsibility for his actions. She said it "has always been his choice to go back to criminal activity."



Traffic Stop nets $1.5M in Cocaine along I-90 in Elgin

Daily Herald, October 19, 2012

By Harry Hitzeman

A traffic stop along Interstate 90 near Elgin Tuesday netted 35 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated $1.5 million on the street, authorities said.

Rogaciano P. Beruete, 57, of Fayetteville, Texas, faces felony charges of controlled substance trafficking, possession of more than 900 grams of cocaine and manufacture/delivery of more than 900 grams of cocaine, according to police and court records.

Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Bill Backus, who heads the North Central Narcotics Task Force, said Beruete was headed east on I-90 when he was pulled over around noon by a uniformed state trooper near Route 31 for speeding and improper lane use.

Backus said a second trooper arrived at the scene and conducted a search by walking his police dog around the car. A search turned up a package of cocaine, and the car was towed to a state facility off Interstate 90 and Route 20 in Marengo where authorities found 28 packages of cocaine weighing 35,117 grams in a hidden compartment in the floor of the vehicle, Backus said.

“In my professional opinion, he was just a transporter,” Backus said. “It’s was definitely a sizable seizure. There’s no doubt about that.”

Beruete is being held at the Kane County jail on $9 million bail, meaning he must post $900,000 in order to be free while the charges are pending. He is due in court on Wednesday.

 

Aurora man charged with money laundering

 September 12, 2012, Beacon News

By Matt Hanley

 An Aurora man is scheduled to be in court Wednesday on charges that he laundered more than $100,000 through local jewelry stores.

 Mario Alvarez Vargas, 48, 900 block of Sard Avenue, is charged with 27 felony counts of unlawful structuring of a currency transaction and 18 counts of felony money laundering, according to Kane County court records. His attorney, Kathleen Colton, said Vargas will plead not guilty in Kane County Court on Wednesday.

 According to records filed in the case, Vargas is accused of depositing more than $140,000 cash in various bank accounts across in Kane, DuPage, Kendall, Will and Sangamon counties. The money was put into two jewelry store bank accounts and then withdrawn elsewhere, to avoid paying taxes on the income, according to court records. In at least one instance, investigators intercepted $50,000 cash that had been hidden in an air compressor that was en route to Mexico, the records show.

Colton said Vargas was indicted by a state grand jury, and his case was assigned to Kane County, where Vargas lives. She declined further comment on the case, saying she has not yet received documents to review all the allegations.

 Search warrants associated with the case reveal that investigators from the State Police, Department of Homeland Security and the North Central Narcotics Task Force have been investigating Vargas for more than a year. Investigators used surveillance and wire taps to track Vargas’ actions, court records show.

 According to search warrants, investigators followed Vargas as he made several large cash deposits at different banks on the same day. For instance, the search warrant shows that on Aug. 16, 2011, Vargas went to an Aurora restaurant and left 10 minutes later carrying a white bag. At 1:10 p.m. that same day, he drove to a bank in Naperville, where he stayed for about seven minutes. He then went to an Aurora branch of the same bank and stayed for about 10 minutes, the warrant says.

As investigators followed Vargas that day, he went to money wiring service in a Walmart, a post office, two Aurora banks and a money wiring business in different areas of Aurora, the warrant says. At 5:39 p.m., he pulled up to an Aurora jewelry store, where he counted out money and handed it to a driver.

An additional search warrant filed in the case says a man may have been selling large quantities of cocaine from the Aurora jewelry store that Vargas visited. There were no Kane County records of the employee being charged, however.

Police did not return calls for comment on this story.

 In September 2011, investigators again followed Vargas as he stopped at two Aurora banks and a Bartlett bank in less than four hours, the warrant says. He then stopped at Aurora and Hanover Park jewelry stores; investigators believe Vargas was picking up money or receiving instructions at the jewelry store, the warrant says.

 Police were able to determine that Vargas made four cash deposits at four branches of the same bank on Oct. 5: $7,685 at 10:12 a.m. in Aurora; $7,932 at 11:14 a.m. in Aurora; $7,856 at 11:58 a.m. in Naperville; and $6,127 at 12:21 p.m. in Plainfield, the warrant alleges.

According to the warrant, in February 2012, police were listening in as Vargas tried to verify that certain deposits were received. Investigators said the man talking to Vargas said they were having problems in Mexico, where the money was headed.

“I don’t have any problem,” Vargas replied, according to court records. “I report everything. I handle money.”

In March, investigators intercepted an air compressor tank that Vargas had mailed from Oswego to Guerrero, Mexico. When agents inspected the air compressor, they found rolls of $5, $10 and $20 bills stuffed into the tank, the warrant says. In all, there was $50,000 stuffed in the air compressor.

Not long after the package was stopped, according to court records, Vargas deposited $32,000 in five separate stops at banks in Batavia, Warrenville, Aurora and Naperville. The warrant indicates he sent a text message with the amount of those deposits to an unknown person that same day.

All of these deposits were made into accounts for two alleged jewelry stores. However, investigators could find no records that indicated Vargas had been buying jewelry from those companies, the warrant says. 

 


North Aurora 18-year-old Accused of Selling more than a Pound of Marijuana

July 30, 2012, Daily Herald

By Harry Hitzeman

An 18-year-old from North Aurora is accused of selling at least a pound of marijuana to undercover officers, according to court records.

Krisada M. Cheung, of the 200 block of Lincolnway Street, faces four felony drug charges and a misdemeanor charge after his arrest Friday, records show.

If convicted of the most serious charge, manufacture/delivery of between 500 and 2,000 grams of marijuana, he could face up to seven years in prison.

A pound contains nearly 454 grams; Cheung is accused of selling at least 500 grams.

According to court documents filed over the weekend, Cheung is accused of selling the drugs to an undercover officer. The North Central Narcotics Task Force, which is a division of the Illinois State Police, is the main charging agency.

Additional information from the task force was not available Monday.

According to court documents, Cheung also is accused of delivering to undercover officers between 30 and 500 grams of marijuana; delivering 10 to 30 grams to undercover officers, and delivering between 2.5 and 10 grams to undercover officers.

It was not clear if there were four separate drug buys or just one large transaction.

He also is accused of possession of a controlled substance, in this case psilocybin, which is another name for hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Cheung is free on bond and due in court Aug. 8.


Police: Elgin man wanted to sell drugs near elementary school

Daily Herald, July 25, 2012

By Harry Hitzeman

A 31-year-old Elgin man who was on probation for drug charges is accused of trying to sell cocaine and marijuana near an Elgin elementary school, according to court records and police.

Jayson P. Sturdivant, of the 1100 block of Morton Avenue, made a brief appearance in Kane County court Wednesday on charges that could land him in prison for a minimum of six years.

He is being held on $500,000 bail, meaning he must post $50,000 to be free while his case is pending, since his arrest by the North Central Narcotics Task Force last week.

Bill Backus, master sergeant with the Illinois State Police and director of the task force, said authorities raided Sturdivant's residence at 4:50 a.m. July 19, seizing 13 grams of cocaine, about 2¼ pounds of marijuana, scales, plastic bags and $2,300.

He said the drugs were packaged for individual sale, and the marijuana had a street value of $4,500. Backus said Sturdivant was investigated for two months. Authorities say he sold drugs from his home, which is near a school.

Sturdivant is charged with intent to deliver between 1 and 15 grams of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, in this case Coleman Elementary, 1220 Dundee Ave., court records show. He also is charged with felony possession of between 500 grams and 2,000 grams of marijuana, as well as resisting arrest.

If convicted of the most serious charge, he faces six to 30 years in prison without the possibility of probation.

Court records show that Sturdivant was sentenced to 30 months probation after being charged with possession of 30 grams to 500 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of Larkin High School, 1475 Larkin Ave., by Elgin Police in July 2010. His probation runs through December 2013 and he also spent 18 days in jail before pleading guilty to that offense.

Sturdivant is next due in court on Aug. 9.

 

Montgomery man gets 15 years for part in distributing cocaine


Beacon News, May 8, 2012

By Matt Hanley


A 26-year-old Montgomery man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday for his role in a cocaine distribution ring.

On Monday, Kendall County state’s attorney Eric Weis said Manuel Carranza, of the 100 block of Heathgate Road, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine. Carranza was one of nine people charged after North Central Narcotics Task Force officers raided his home in December 2010.

At Carranza’s home, task force members found more than a pound of cocaine, a money counter, 13 cell phones and about $18,000 cash, Weis said.

Carranza will have to serve three years probation when he is released from prison.

Many of the other people charged in the bust have pleaded guilty and been sentenced, according to court records.

Eddie Hernandez, 21, 1000 block of Indian Avenue, Aurora, was sentenced to three years probation for possession of a firearm in May 2011. Rodolfo Gallardo Jr., 21, of the 700 block of Morningside Avenue, Aurora, pleaded guilty to delivering 1 to 15 grams of cocaine and was sentenced to 54 days in jail and 30 months probation.

Jose Baez, 28, was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance. Gabriela Hernandez, 19, of the 1000 block of Russell Avenue, Aurora; pleaded guilty to felony attempted disorderly conduct and was sentenced to two years probation. Other cases are pending or no information was available.

The original investigation involved Aurora police, Kane County prosecutors, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, and the U.S. attorney’s office. Undercover agents purchased cocaine from Carranza several times in Aurora. During negotiations, agents learned Carranza’s suppliers smuggled cocaine into the U.S. from Mexico, said Sgt. Bill Backus, director of the North Central Narcotics Task Force. Many of the other defendants were involved in smaller drug sales.

Over the next few months, police conducted surveillance on suspects and obtained telephone wiretaps.

In 2010, Backus said the arrests were related to the drug investigation that led Aurora officers to seize $190,000 from a car they stopped in October 2010. That seizure has been contested because the occupants of the car — two Aurora brothers — were not charged with any crimes, although the money has been sent to the federal government. The brothers were not among the nine people charged and have not been charged.

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