A Lake County man once accused of using his family's Grayslake restaurant to traffic drugs is facing new drug conspiracy charges, authorities said Tuesday.
Jack Papandreou, 37, formerly of Wadsworth, pleaded not guilty in Lake County court Tuesday to three counts of criminal drug conspiracy.
A guilty finding on the charges normally would carry a prison sentence of 15 to 60 years, but because this could become Papandreou's third Class X felony conviction, it would put him behind bars for life.
Defense attorney Ed Edens declined to comment about the charges after Papandreou's arraignment early Tuesday.
Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Ken LaRue said a court-approved telephone wire initiated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recorded evidence of drug dealings involving Papandreou and his brother, Gus, while the defendant was serving time in federal prison in Indiana.
This is the second time drug conspiracy charges have been brought against Papandreou in the last three years. He and his brothers, Konstantino ("Gus") and Elias, were listed as managers of Jack's Pizza and Burgers in Grayslake and Waukegan when authorities charged 18 employees with various drug crimes.
The Grayslake restaurant, owned by their mother, Anna, has been closed since the investigation ended and indictments filed against the Papandreou brothers.
Elias Papandreou pleaded guilty in October 2011 to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He served 40 days in jail and paid a $4,800 fine.
But counts against Jack Papandreou were dropped in May 2012 because there was a lack of evidence proving he was selling drugs out of the restaurant while serving time in a federal penitentiary in Indiana, authorities said.
Papandreou was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison in 2003 on charges brought by the U.S. Attorney's office in Milwaukee for selling cocaine, Ecstasy and marijuana in Wisconsin, Arizona and California over a 10-year period. He's scheduled for release in 2018, LaRue said.
Konstantino Papandreou remains at large despite a warrant for his arrest.
During Tuesday's arraignment, mother Anna Papandreou was charged with obstructing a peace officer by the Lake County Sheriff's Office. She was told three times to not communicate with her son during Tuesday's hearing, but following her third attempt, she was taken out of the courtroom and asked to produce valid identification. When she refused, she was taken into custody.