A Batavia man and woman were among a group of five charged with cannabis trafficking after a three-month investigation, police said.
The investigation, which involved six different agencies, ended in a seizure of 598 pounds of cannabis from two vehicles. Agents also took three firearms from the Batavia man and woman's residence, located on the 2700 block of Sperry Court.
In September 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 agencies conducted surveillance on the suspects and obtained additional information regarding the operation. They 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 November 13 at about 8 p.m. conducted simultaneous traffic stops on the vehicles in Kane County.
One vehicle, a 2008 Toyota Camry, was stopped at the intersection of Jericho Road and State Route 47 in Sugar Grove. The following vehicles were stopped on Orchard Road just north of Prairie Street in Aurora:
- 2009 Lexus ES330
- 2008 Buick LaCrosse
- 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe
At that time, seven subjects were detained.
A K-9 sniff was conducted on the vehicles and the K-9 alerted on the Camry and the Lexus. A subsequent search of the vehicles resulted in the seizure of about 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 5,000 grams), Class X Felony; 3) Unlawful Possession of Cannabis (more than 5,000 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 November 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.
If convicted of any Class X felony, the accused could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison each, according to sentencing guidelines in the current state statute. If convicted of any Class 1 felony, the accused could face up to 15 years in prison.
Three subjects were released pending further investigation. Additional charges related to the seized firearms are currently pending.
The following agencies were involved in the investigation:
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- DuPage County Metropolitan Enforcement Group
- North Central Narcotics Task Force
- Illinois State Police
- DuPage County State's Attorney's Office
- Kane County State's Attorney's Office
The charge(s) against the subject(s) are not a proof of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial, in which it is the state’s burden to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This information was courtesy of the North Central Narcotics Task Force. This Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement group that investigates illicit drug trafficking and distribution, gang activity and weapon offenses in Kane and other area counties, according to its website.