In one of the biggest cocaine seizures in Kane County history, sheriff's investigators and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seized 17 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $1.6 million and $259,569 in cash from an Aurora home early Tuesday morning, Sheriff Pat Perez announced Friday.
Jesus Montes, 43, of the 1600 block of Cambridge Avenue, was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and money laundering, according to the state's attorney's office.
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"This is the largest cocaine seizure in Kane County to my recollection, over at least the last 23 years of my service," Perez said.
The more than 34 pounds of cocaine was wrapped in plastic and packaging, plus duct tape and electrical tape, he said.
Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said the investigation leading to the arrest of Montes took about three months. He declined to say what led authorities to begin the investigation.
Montes' bail was set at $5 million, and his next court date is March 21. If he posts $500,000 to be released, he will be turned over to the custody of ICE, officials said.
McMahon said he believes Montes is a citizen of Mexico. Perez said investigators are trying to determine what area of Mexico he came from. He said that would help determine what, if any, drug trafficking organization is involved.
"This has had a big impact on our community and obviously within our agency," Perez said.
McMahon declined to say whether the Aurora house was the end point for the cocaine or just a distribution center.
The Kane County Regional SWAT Team and Drug Enforcement Agency personnel assisted in executing the search warrant, the sheriff's office said.
Montes does not have a criminal history that authorities know of, Perez said. He and McMahon did not know how long Montes has lived in the area.
Montes' wife and a 1-year-old child were at home at the time of the arrest, Perez said. Another man, who was not immediately identified, was arrested at the same time on an unrelated charge.
If convicted, Montes could be sentenced to between 15 and 30 years in prison, and can be fined a minimum of $500,000 up to the street value of the drugs, McMahon said.