Authorities arrest 5 men, seize 1,464 pounds of marijuana
HUNTLEY – Authorities arrested five men and seized a record 1,464 pounds of marijuana that rode into McHenry County inside pallets of onions.
Sheriff’s police and federal drug agents tracked a semitrailer Sunday to a pole barn at 14206 Harmony Road outside Huntley, Sheriff Keith Nygren announced Monday.
Authorities saw subjects using a fork lift to unload what appeared to be pallets of onions inside an outbuilding at the farm, police said. Ultimately, they found 58 bales of marijuana inside the pallets.
“It’s a significant amount of marijuana taken off the street and significant arrests,” Nygren said.
The street value of the drugs was estimated at $1.5 million. The bust topped the sheriff’s office’s previous record seizure of 300 pounds of processed marijuana in 1997, Nygren said.
Authorities also seized about $8,000 cash Sunday.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the drug organization, which Nygren said appeared to use some counter-surveillance techniques. Nygren said authorities suspected that the organization had vehicles following the semitrailer as look-outs.
Authorities do not believe the farm’s owner nor the people renting the house at the Harmony Road address were involved, Nygren said. Several outbuildings are rented out separately from the house, and authorities are exploring whether the suspects rented the pole barn or had a connection to the person who did, Nygren said.
The location is west of Huntley High School and Leggee Elementary School.
Five men were taken to McHenry County jail and are expected to appear for bond hearings this morning.
Charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of marijuana were Alfredo Bautista, 30, Frankfort; Kip Ernest Dalke, 32, Pingree Grove; Jesus Raymond Padilla, 34, Hanover Park; Carlos Martin Rodriguez, 32, Hazel Crest; and Guillermo Rodriguez, 44, Blue Island.
If convicted of the more serious charge, they could be sentenced to between six and 30 years in prison.
By JILLIAN DUCHNOWSK
December 22 2009
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