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updated: 5/31/2013 7:31 PM

Fugitive arrested as Elgin drug sweep continues

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  • Eric M. Galarza

      Eric M. Galarza

 
 

A 32-year-old Elgin man on the lam for almost a year after leading authorities on a chase through a more than 3,400-acre forest preserve was arrested Friday on day two of a coordinated police drug sweep.

Eric M. Galarza was one of 13 individuals arrested by Elgin police Friday as part of a yearlong investigation into drug sales that targeted about 80 individuals.

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On Thursday, police made 22 drug arrests, which follow 17 additional arrests made over the past four months.

Galarza was also the intended target of a gang-related shooting that killed his 5-year-old son, Eric Galarza Jr., on Oct. 7, 2011, in the driveway of his home.

Galarza eluded police in June 2012 after being wanted on two felony domestic violence warrants. His wife told police Galarza struck her in the head several times, choked her and threatened to kill her. When police tried to arrest Galarza, he led them on a five-mile chase and then fled by foot into the James "Pate" Philip State Park, a 3,432-acre forest preserve near Bartlett.

Authorities were unable to apprehend him despite getting assistance from three canine units, two helicopters and a plane.

Last August, a Cook County judge issued a no-bail warrant for Galarza after he was charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm after authorities said he attacked another man in 2011.

On Friday, authorities charged him with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

His criminal background also includes convictions for aggravated discharge of a firearm, possession of a firearm and resisting a peace officer.

The other individuals charged Friday with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance were Mateo E. Cedillo, 25, of Elgin; Bryan Dungey, 28; Donna L. Hauschild, 47, of Elgin; Jose A. Maldonado, 24, of Elgin; Francisco Mejia, 47, of Elgin; Alfredo Patino, Jr., 22, of Elgin; Luciano T. Rodriguez, 27, of Carpentersville; Charlotte M. Scheffler, 24, of St. Charles; Nick Siyavong, 44, of Elgin; Devonsha B. Thompson, 30, of Elgin; and Carolyn A. Williams, 49, of Elgin.

In addition, Jason A. Hutchins, 33, was charged with unlawful delivery of cannabis.

Elgin police have been conducting the drug sweep in cooperation with the FBI, the Kane County sheriff's office, U.S. Immigrations Customs and Enforcement and the Kane County state's attorney's office.

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