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Police Sting Lands 600 Pounds of Marijuana in Batavia, Elburn and Other Areas

A handful of local residents are charged. Here's how the bust went down.

On Nov. 13, 2012, 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 Kane County State's Attorney's Office concluded a three month investigation into cannabis trafficking with the seizure of 598 pounds of cannabis and the arrests of five suspects.

During September of 2012, law enforcement personnel received information of a cannabis trafficking organization based out of Kane and McHenry Counties. The organization was allegedly responsible for transporting hundreds of pounds of cannabis from Arizona to Illinois. Agents from the above listed agencies conducted surveillance on the suspects and obtained additional information regarding the operation. Agents were able to determine the schedule of the group and learned of the next shipment of cannabis.

Over several days in November, agents conducted surveillance on the group of suspects as they traveled from Arizona back to Illinois. Agents followed the suspects who were traveling in four separate vehicles and on Nov. 13 at approximately 8 p.m. conducted simultaneous traffic stops on the vehicles in Kane County.

One vehicle (2008 Toyota Camry) was stopped at the intersection of Jericho Road and State Route 47 in Sugar Grove. The other three vehicles (2009 Lexus ES330, 2008 Buick LaCrosse, 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe) were stopped on Orchard Road just north of Prairie Street in Aurora. At that time, seven subjects were detained.

A K-9 sniff was conducted on the vehicles and the K-9 alerted on two of them (Camry and Lexus). A subsequent search of the vehicles resulted in the seizure of approximately 598 pounds of cannabis combined from both vehicles. In addition to the evidence seized from the traffics stops, Agents conducted searches of two homes associated with the suspects: the 300 block of Nebraska Street in Elburn and the 2700 block of Sperry Court in Batavia. Agents seized three firearms from the residence on Sperry Court.

The following four suspects were charged with 1) Cannabis Trafficking, Class X Felony; 2) Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Deliver (more than 5000 grams), Class X Felony; 3) Unlawful Possession of Cannabis (more than 5000 grams), Class 1 Felony

  • Richard G. Ecklund, 48, 2700 block of Sperry Court, Batavia
  • Dean A. Dziuba, 55, 1100 block of Lodgepole Court, Darien
  • Matthew A. Westerlin, 28, 300 block of Nebraska Street, Elburn
  • Crystal L. Westerlin, 29, 300 block of Nebraska Street, Elburn

Additionally, the following suspect was charged with Cannabis Trafficking, Class X Felony:

  • Mary L. Nunez, 57, 2700 block of Sperry Court, Batavia

On Nov. 14, all five subjects appeared in Kane County Court for a bond hearing. Ecklund's bond was set at $35 million, the remaining four subjects bonds were set at $27 million.

Three subjects were released pending further investigation. Additional charges related to the seized firearms are currently pending.

The chargea against the subjects are not a proof of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial, in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Billy Pilgrim November 17, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Adults should be able to patake in adult activities without government intervention.
Martha Hanna November 17, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I agree to disagree with you Sherry, the only reason I would like to see HB30 passed in the house is so maybe one day I can buy my marijuana legally...I smoke it to get a little buzz, similar to drinking a glass of wine. I do not think my comments are a sick joke...I feel the same way Billy does. I am an adult and I should be able to do whatever I want in the privacy of my own home. Sherry you are just way to judgemental.
Sherry November 17, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Hey Martha, you can agree to disagree. But all the things you listed above, cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, video gambling and horseracing have done nothing to improve the moral fabric of our citizens, in fact I could write a research paper detailing all of the awful crimes and lives wasted as well as potential and talent as well as the ENORMOUS cost to the taxpayers, due to these above "legalized" ways to make the state money! Here's a few: tax payers flipping the medical bills for those with lung and throat cancer or stomach cancer. I personally lost my grandfather 2 wks before I was born to lung cancer. Mob/gang related crimes due to gambling, not because its illegal, but because good upstanding citizens can't stop gambling, and then borrow from the wrong people. Like my friend Rhonda's ex husband. They lost their home and all their savings and his job due to gambling. He was visiting his 3 kids at his parents where Rhonda lived because of his gambling; when a "bad guy" came to his house and shot him right in the front door of our nice suburban neighborhood. He's dead. I'm not judgmental I live in REALITY. You don't! You live in "buzzed" world. Whose paying attention to the kids when mom has a buzz? huh? Do you know how many accidents were averted raising my four boys because I was alert and able to move quickly? Enjoy your buzz, but its illegal and apparently you think its okay to break the law so I can't respect that.
Martha Hanna November 17, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Oh Sherry, Sherry...we do have vices and we are human...and yes gambling is evil and cigarettes are evil and pot is evil and alcohol is evil. And we might as well get all the tax money we can from these evil things, because unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. And yes I have seen people's lives ruined from gambling and alcohol. I am happy that you are a good mom and always stay vigilant with your children, you are doing a good job. But you have never met me so please do not insult me with your judgements. I feel strongly about legalize and tax...and was that an adult that offered marijuana to your boy down by the river or was it one of your son's peers?
Jon Azavedo November 17, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Orgies? Rhonda's ex was shot by a gangster when he opened his door? The Pusherman is now working the Riverwalk? I want a bowl of what Sherry is smoking, and que up Ina-god-davida. Oh won't you come with me, and take my hand, oh won't you come with me, and walk this land.....Iron Butterfly rules. And don't bogart the joint.
Martha Hanna November 17, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Yes Jon, Sherry's stories are wild, she has some interesting stories indeed. It's funny that a police officer dismissed the boys down by the river, because he had more important things to tend to. Maybe the officer was tracking down those darn wild coyotes that are spreading havoc throughout the Fox Valley area.
Sherry November 18, 2012 at 12:22 AM
My stories are not stories their real. Rhonda went to high school with me and her ex husband was shot in Gilbert about 10 years ago. Look it up. I don't think the news reported it was related to gambling, but I knew her personally and she told me. Give me a break about Orgies, pick up a Reader's Digest from just a year or so ago and there was a real story about a guy who regretted the very large circle he was involved in and the VD's he caught. Look at history for similar stories. My son was with his friend (both from Geneva) along the river in Batavia, fishing; and they didn't know the kid but thought he might be about 18. They left as soon as he approached and asked them if they were there to buy drugs or wanted some.
Jon Azavedo November 18, 2012 at 12:58 AM
well, that clears up everything. I will look up the shooting that wasn't reported, and next time I want to burn a bowl I will do it in batavia, where they don't care. Readers Digest did a story about orgies? Was there a Norman Rockwell pic on the cover?
Martha Hanna November 18, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Well, it seems our conversation has ended in laughter, thank you Jon. I was hoping to have more of a serious debate about legalize and tax. Many people are leery about expressing their feelings about legalizing marijuana and I understand that.
Sherry November 18, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Just how would legalized marijuana work out Martha? Doctors proscribe it to patients who want a buzz and tax payers pay for those who can't afford it? Or legalize it as in selling it at our local nurseries or Target? When Geneva-Red Ribbon Week promotes getting rid of extra drugs in your house so teenagers don't have access I'm sure you and your friends will be lining up to turn your marijuana into the police so teenagers don't get their hands on it. Seriously how exactly is legalized marijuana going to work? Straight laced kids who are afraid to approach drug dealers won't have to, they can take it from their best friend's mother's medicine cabinet! And lastly, I thought our country was serious about uping the intelligence of our citizens so we can compete in the world. Marijuana deprives the brain of oxygen and that kills brain cells. So we essentially are dumbing down our society or at least the portion that takes marijuana. I have plenty to say, but it falls on deaf ears, so I'm bored talking to you Martha. You say I'm judgmental, when clearly I'm the only one thinking about the ramificatioin of legalizing this drug. And you will find the story about Rhonda's husband, it was thought to be a home invasion, they left the gambling angle out at first, but SHE told me face to face it was her husband's bookie. You don't have to believe me. She had no reason to lie and neither do I, but apparently it bothers you that such a thing could be true because you trivialize it. Nite.
Sherry November 18, 2012 at 01:51 AM
I believe it is Readers Digest July 2008...not sure, not ordering a reprint to prove I'm correct about the other story. I'm not doing the work for ya Martha, if you want to poke fun at the story at least read it first.
Martha Hanna November 18, 2012 at 09:08 AM
Sherry I am not poking fun at you and I understand your concerns about the children...but the children will find pot if the children so desire. It is readily available illegally. I am sure that children take alcohol from their parents, and I feel like alcohol is far more dangerous then pot. I consider myself to be intelligent. I am sure your stories are creditable and that they are the truth but I know many people who are very intelligent that are marijuana smokers. I just feel like we the people are paying way too much money to house prisoners, feed them give them health and dental care while they are locked up for marijuana crimes.
Tim November 18, 2012 at 02:35 PM
^This person subs at Geneva Middle Schools?
Martha Hanna November 18, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Yes I was a sub, I am an election judge, and I ran for Kane Co Board, I have been a CASA. What is your point Tim?
Tim November 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Earlier in this thread, Martha, you wrote: "maybe one day I can buy my marijuana legally...I smoke it to get a little buzz" do I need to elaborate?
Martha Hanna November 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Again Tim what is your point? People drink alcohol for a little buzz. If you ask me this is a liberty issue. I like smoking pot and I have been smoking it for years. Why are you judging me? Give me a valid reason. 40,000 people die every year due to alcohol. There has never been a reported incident of people overdosing and dying do to marijuana usage. You would rather lock people up for marijuana crimes? Give them food, lodging, health and dental care at the expense of the taxpayer? I would rather legalize and tax. And don't tell me I am some kind of freak that walks around in a buzzed state all day. I am and will always be a productive and caring individual.
Tim November 18, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Wow. Your lack of understanding of this issue is troubling. Pot v. alcohol isn't the issue. Where do you get your weed, Martha? Where does the money go? You think we should all be able to arbitrarily decide which laws we're going to obey and which ones we're going to disregard?
Martha Hanna November 18, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Wow Tim, your lack of understanding is also troubling. Legalize and tax is the issue, and I am for states rights deciding the issue. Illinois is on the verge of legalizing medical marijuana. This is not reefer madness Tim, this is an issue about MY liberties. Prohibition did not work with alcohol, and there are already 18 states that have made medical marijuana legal. People break laws everyday on the highway disregarding the speed limits. People dump garbage illegally, people DRINK AND DRIVE illegally. I moved to Batavia in 89, and bought pot from a mother I met in Girl Scouts! OMG!!
Sherry November 18, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Martha, I am very troubled that a judge would knowingly break any law based on their personal beliefs. If its a law and its broken its a crime. If a man chases a criminal down the block who did a home invasion and raped his wife and the man shoots the fleeing criminal, he is breaking the law. Whether he believes the law is just or not. You seem to be saying there is a difference between breaking a BIG law or a LITTLE law, and say if its little and my "liberty" in my view then I can break it and do so openly (i.e. admit it on the internet) I teach my children to not jay walk when they are very tiny. I teach them to not provoke their friends, I teach them to not kill. Yes some crimes are worse than others, but to say a person can disregard all small crimes would totally negate our legal system. Have you ever driven a car in Nogales Mexico? Its madness; no-one obeys stop signs or red/green lights. they just go in a mad snail pace hodge podge of cars. One must obey & respect ALL laws until they are no longer a law. Maybe you smoked a little too much weed if you want to call this judgmental. I hope I never voted for you...
Sherry November 18, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Today during sacrament I opened my bible - the Old Testament. I'm troubled by your comments Martha and others supporting doing drugs...how can you support such things? God gives his children direction so we are not confused, so that we can be healthy and live our lives in peace. I read Isaiah 5:20, 21, 23 "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!" I am not saying you are wicked Martha, I'm saying "Woe!" I'm sure you contribute to society and are a caring individual but you call wickedness i.e. breaking the law and smoking weed good; and call those who do not believe in breaking the law, judgmental. You keep trying to confuse the issue of you wanting a buzz and getting it illegalling or legally; with tax payers not paying for criminals. I am not confused! I would rather pay for criminals to be in jail than pay for the problems they create being out of jail. For you to say they create NO problems is false. To compare your issue to alcohol is to try and lead people astray on the real issue. You are breaking the law! You support others who do! You say they don't sell to minors; you can't know that unless you know them intimately. Do you? If not, you have no idea who they sell to.
Ed November 18, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Martha, I think you need to think this through. There is a case to be made for a Libertarian perspective - if a behavior is truly victimless - we should be free to do as we please. If you want to work toward the legalization of drugs - go for it. The problem is that right now, buying and using marijuana is not legal. As such, it's not victimless. The money spent to get "a little buzz" ends up in the hands of the drug cartels. These are not nice people, Martha. American agents and patrols are being killed with guns purchased with the proceeds of drug sales. So until it's legal - if you choose to buy and use, that's on you.
Martha Hanna November 18, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Sherry, I am breaking the law, but I am not an evil person. I think Jesus Christ himself was a marijuana smoker. Please do not shove religion down my throat and try to make me feel guilty. It won't work. Let law enforcement crack down on hard drugs and make marijuana legal. Legalize and Tax is all I am saying. You just voted on November 6th and you can't remember whom you voted for, geez.
Sherry November 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM
(Don't know how long you were a judge, hope I didn't vote in the past for you) NOT calling YOU an evil person. Just your idea. I use Jesus & his prophets to guide my life and I'm not ashamed for believing & obeying commandments & the LAW. Isaiah says Woe unto those who call evil, good. Drugs and the drug cartel are evil. Its not religion I cram down your throat its a perspective that says your logic, your arguments will not go un-noticed or undisputed by me because I believe children are a heritage unto the Lord and if we are to become as little children in order to enter heaven, then we need to, as adults, create a world where our children can grow up to be the best they can; NOT add more legal temptations that thwart their ability to reach their full potential!! Legalizing marijuana won't stop crime. Are pharmaceuticals going to mass produce & dispense marijuana? A buzz isn't medically necessary. Won't there ALWAYS be rebels who are able to grow and sell this drug for less than the FDA could? It cost BILLIONS of $ to pass FDA standards, who will pay that? Won't there still be massive crimes involved in growing and selling it in other countries and our own? $ If we are to leave a better world for our kids to inherit I stand up and loundly say a pot smoking citizenship is not your right and not going to strengthen our nation! The easy access and affordability will lead us to have uncoordinated, hungry, misinformed, short term memory citizens. Side effects per Natl' Geographic
Jen Marsh November 27, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I think Jesus Christ himself was a marijuana smoker. Put that on your campaign literature, Martha! I have never read a more hysterical thread, in my life. Good luck with that! Not to mention, I will keep my eye out for your name if you EVER sub in the Geneva school district, much less TRY to represent Kane Co. taxpayers. Whatevs.
Martha Hanna November 27, 2012 at 03:43 PM
The war on drugs is a losing battle Jen...I think that I am realistic in this debate and I don't think it is a laughing manner. You are judging me and you don't even know me. I can't sub or run for office, I beg your pardon? The US accounts for 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's prisoners. The annual government spending on the US Drug War is $51,000,000,000. 1 in every 99 adults are in prison for non-violent drug crimes. The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. TAX REVENUE that drug legalization would yeild annually...46.7 billion dollars. Hello!!
Sherry November 27, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Legalization justifies use and leads to abuse, we need not look further than alcohol & gambling for proof. We cannot loosen our laws to meet the habits of those with the lowest most self serving standards. Promises of income from taxation off of a substance quickly turns into a state dependent upon the taxation income. What follows is a dire NEED for a society of consistent users and to crank out NEW users. Easy accessibility hastens the complete mediocracy of our nation's intelligence. Marijuana might not rot the liver as does alcohol, but it is not "good" for the body. It rots the brain! Your argument Martha that we're losing the war, so if we can't beat them join them, makes my stomach ache. Obviously, your 24 year old habit has caused you to not see the big picture here. Its not about money or criminals, its about what kind of society do we want? Think of all the new laws...driving while stoned, how high is too high? Returning to military base high and having access to weapons. I see so many problems. I think your focus is myopic.
Martha Hanna November 27, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Thanks Sherry for not quoting the scriptures to me again...yes our society is evil and no I don't want kids to get hooked on drugs. The US is losing the war on drugs, do you really want to keep paying taxes on this war to make politicans and drug cartels to get richer than they already are?? And yes alcohol and gambling are bad but look at the revenue we get from that. Springfield will be voting again to expand gambling in Illinois to get us out of debt..great! I was a dealer on the boat in Aurora for 9 years I know what gambling does to people. I may be a majiuana smoker and I am out of the closet on the subject. I have never applied for any government hand out except for the Homeowner's exemption credit I get. How high is too high? Marijuana would be treated like alcohol. 21 years of age and if you drink alcohol or smoker marijuana or are abusing prescription drugs or meth or whatever you are on you get a DUI end of story.
Sherry November 27, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Lets not forget Illinois was thinking about passing a pilot program for medicinal purposes of Marijuana. You, Martha and others, have admitted you use it instead of alcohol to get a "buzz". You nor your friends would be able to legally purchase marijuana without lying so you would still be a non-violent law breaker. Hey, if someone stole money from their employers safe...that's a non-violent crime, should we just not prosecute them because it cost the taxpayers so much money?!!! Your argument is flawed! The point I make and I think those against marijuana legalization agree with is we don't want people who get high teaching our kids, being police officers, judges or firemen or in the military. We don't want people who get high driving a vehicle. We don't want our kids going over to their friend's homes to play being watched by a mom who is high. So we like the law as it is, it seems to be working because as you put it there are a LOT of people in jail for abusing this law. We don't loosen a law because too many people are in jail. I come from AZ where Sherrif Joe saves the taxpayers money by putting convicts in tents and gives them pink underware to wear and bologna to eat daily. You want to save some money? There are ways! And those ways don't make the road easier for law breakers. The point of jail is to not just protect citizens but to instill a desire in the convict to never break a law again; avoiding future time in jail.
Martha Hanna November 27, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Sherry once again we agree to disagree...I feel like your argument is flawed and 70% of the USA is with me on this one. Legalize and tax.
Anonymous November 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM
At least one of these people should be remorseful for choosing a path that led to the word felony being attached to his grandfather's name. -A surprised relative.

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