Kane prosecutors want to seize cash, coins after $2.7M pot bust
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Kane County prosecutors want two suspects in a $2.7 million marijuana bust in late 2012 to forfeit nearly $28,000 in cash, along with cashiers checks, silver bars and coins, according to court records.
Authorities say these items were used as currency in a drug operation that resulted in the arrests five people in November, including couples from Batavia and Sugar Grove.
An April 4 court date has been set for a judge to consider the action by prosecutors against Richard G. Ecklund, 48, and Mary L. Nunez, 57, both of the 2700 block of Sperry Court, Batavia.
Prosecutors want Ecklund to forfeit $6,478 in silver coins and bars that were confiscated during a search of the home on Sperry Court, along with $7,224 worth of cashier's checks seized from Ecklund's bank in a search after his arrest, according to court records.
Prosecutors also have pushed to have $27,620 in U.S. currency seized from a home in the 16000 block of Plainfield Road in Crest Hill forfeited. The money, court records show, was seized from Bartolo Nunez, who also posted bond for Mary Nunez after her arrest.
Bartolo Nunez does not face any criminal charges.
Ecklund and Mary Nunez are charged with drug trafficking, a felony that carries a six- to 30-year prison term if convicted. They are both free on bond while their cases are pending.
Ecklund's defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky could not be reached for comment.
Joseph Dinatale, the defense attorney for Mary Nunez, said her name was on the safety deposit box for her father, Bartolo, who is retired and earned the money legally. "It's her father's money and she was on the safety deposit box as a matter of convenience," Dinatale said. "I believe there has been a petition for the refund of the money and to fight forfeiture."
In court papers, Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Kelly Orland argues the money, checks and precious metals were used as payment in the alleged drug ring.
The North Central Narcotics Task Force, which is a division of the Illinois State Police, announced the arrests in mid-November, saying it worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate five people for three months and seized 598 pounds of marijuana during simultaneous traffic stops in Aurora and Sugar Grove.
Matthew A. Westerlin, 28, and Crystal L. Westerlin, 30, both of the 30 block of East Nebraska Street, Sugar Grove, are free on bond and on electronic home monitoring and face felony drug trafficking charges, records show.
Both are due in court April 17.
Dean Dziuba, 55, of the 1100 block of Lodgepole Court, Darien, also faces drug trafficking charges and is free on bond. His next court date is April 17.
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