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updated: 1/31/2011 6:28 PM

Lake Co. man gets 9 years for guns, explosives, rocket launcher

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  • Burl Thomas

    Burl Thomas


The second of two Antioch Township men caught in a house with large amount of guns, explosives and drugs was sentenced to nine years in prison Tuesday in Lake County Circuit Court.

Burl Thomas, 57, pleaded guilty to possession of controlled substances with the intent to deliver and possession of an explosive device.

Assistant State's Attorney Scott Hoffert said Thomas and his son, John Thomas, 25, were at their residence in the 25000 block of West Linden Lane when police arrived with a search warrant on Sept. 2, 2009.

Police found more than 30 weapons, including a live military AT4 rocket launcher, semiautomatic rifles, handguns and shotguns. They also found a half-pound of dynamite, blasting caps and detonator cord.

About two ounces of cocaine, a pound of marijuana and 500 pills of prescription drugs were also seized during the raid.

John Thomas pleaded guilty to unlawful storage of explosives in February and was placed on probation for two years.

Hoffert said the investigation determined Burl Thomas was responsible for the presence of most of the contraband in the house.

The elder Thomas was found psychologically unfit for trial in December, but was returned to Lake County in June after treatment at a Department of Human Services hospital.

Hoffert said Burl Thomas could have faced up to 30 years in prison if he had been convicted after a trial.