Guilty plea results in 8½ years in million-dollar pot bust
A third and final defendant has pleaded guilty in a scheme to bring $1 million worth of high-grade marijuana to the suburbs that was thwarted by an unpaid toll and good police work.
Pablo Galeana-Rueda, 35, of Aberdeen, Wash., was sentenced to 8½ years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, a felony that carried a 6- to 30-year prison term.
Rueda was arrested Jan. 14, 2011 after he and another passenger failed to pay a toll on Interstate 88 and Route 31. That led to a vehicle search and a sheriff's deputy found two duffel bags of high-grade marijuana in the trunk.
"The defendant indicated in fact that he was aware (60 pounds of) cannabis was in the vehicle and he was driving it here from California in exchange for $3,000," Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Kelly Orland said.
Judge Marmarie Kostelny accepted the plea, which also includes $52,085 in fines and fees.
Under state law, Rueda must serve half his sentence. He also gets credit for about 15 months in jail while his case was pending.
Last year, a passenger in the car with Rueda, Jose Hernandez-Calderon, 42, of Santa Rosa, Calif., pleaded guilty and received an 8-year sentence.
Mario Hernandez, 37, of the 700 block of South Street, Elgin, was arrested several days later after Rueda's arrest when he called authorities to report one of the men as "missing." Hernandez also has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on June 26. He also faces between 6 and 30 years in prison.
Orland credited Kane County Sheriff's Deputy Ron Hain for the arrest.
According to a sheriff's report, Hain pulled the men over after they put a dollar bill into the 60-cent toll booth. He became suspicious when the two men did not know each other's last names, the car registration did not match the license plate and the men had soft, non-callused hands despite their claims they were headed to Chicago to look for construction work.
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