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updated: 8/22/2014 5:02 PM

Batavia man pleads guilty to pot charge

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  • Richard Ecklund

      Richard Ecklund

 
 

A Batavia man who was one of five people arrested with 598 pounds of marijuana pleaded guilty Friday to trafficking in cannabis.

Richard Ecklund, 49, of the 2700 block of Sperry Court, will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 28 by Kane County Circuit Judge Susan Clancy Boles.

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He is the third defendant to plead guilty in the case, which involved $2.7 million worth of marijuana.

Another, Matthew Westerlin of Earlville, and formerly of Elburn, is due to appear in court at 9 a.m. Thursday for a possible plea agreement or setting of a trial date.

The fifth, Mary Nunez, is due to appear in court at 9 a.m. Sept. 10. Nunez, 59, lives at the same address as Ecklund.

The pot was found in two vehicles, in Aurora and Sugar Grove, in November 2012. The Drug Enforcement Agency and state police had been investigating the five for several months, suspecting them of transporting marijuana from the southwest United States.

In July, Westerlin's wife, Crystal, 31, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of possession of cannabis (2,000 grams to 5,000 grams). She agreed to a three-year prison sentence.

The same day, Dean Dziuba, 56, of Darien, also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis (2,000 grams to 5,000 grams) and agreed to a four-year prison sentence.

Besides the pot, authorities also seized $6,748 in silver coins and bars from Ecklund's home, and $7,224 worth of cashiers checks.

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