FIVE MEN CHARGED IN $4.9 MILLION MARIJUANA BUST
Friday, January 28, 2011— Bond has been set at $400,000 each for five men who were distributing cannabis from a Steger home, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Friday.
Jose Ortiz, 53, Pedro Ramirez-Montenegro, 29, and Fidel Ramirez-Montenegro, 37, all of the 2700 block of West 43rd Street in Chicago; Leonel Zepeda-Delgado, 32, of the 15500 block of Center Avenue in Harvey; and Jesus Torres-Gomez, 42, of the 500 block of 8th Street in Chicago Heights, all have been charged with manufacturing/delivery of cannabis over 5000 grams. They appeared in Will County bond court on January 22nd.
Based on a tip, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Narcotics Unit began an investigation into drug activity at a house located on the 3500 block of John Street in Steger. Officers learned that large amounts of cannabis were being packaged and distributed from the home, intended for street level sales in the Cook County area.
After conducting surveillance, officers stopped a car leaving the residence on a traffic violation, and recovered approximately 20 pounds of cannabis from the vehicle. Another suspect in a minivan arrived at the home, and left a short time later with five other men.
Police stopped the vehicle on a traffic violation, and found approximately six pounds of cannabis inside. All six suspects in the van were taken into custody.
On January 20th, Sheriff’s Police officers, along with Calumet City Police, were able to secure a Will County search warrant for the residence. With the assistance of the Lake County, Indiana HIDTA team, investigators executed the warrant that night and found more than 1,000 pounds of cannabis at the home. Police seized 18 cardboard boxes containing approximately 30 pounds of cannabis each; four large plastic bags containing approximately 71 pounds of cannabis; and 27 five-gallon buckets containing ten pounds of cannabis each.
The next court date for all five offenders is February 14th in Will County.