Authorities: Man had almost $2.5 million in cocaine
Bail has been set at $2.5 million for a man accused of transporting cocaine, valued at that same amount, through Willowbrook.
Jose Martinez Gomez, of Mexico, is charged with manufacture or delivery of more than 900 grams of a controlled substance. If convicted, the charge carries a sentencing range of 15 to 60 years to be served at 75 percent.
Assistant State's Attorney Bridget Carlson said state police inspectors were surveilling a truck Monday afternoon when it exited I-55 onto Kingery Road in Willowbrook. The truck eventually backed into a business at an undisclosed location on Kingery, where it remained.
Authorities said Martinez Gomez arrived at the business several hours later in a black minivan.
Carlson said Martinez Gomez eventually left the business carrying unidentified items and returned to the minivan and began heading north on I-55.
A short time later, she said, police stopped the minivan and approached Martinez Gomez on his driver side.
"Officers observed he had a knife between his legs," Carlson said. "And inside the van they could see duct-taped bricks in boxes."
The bricks were tested and found to contain more than 70 kilograms of cocaine, valued at $2.46 million.
Carlson said Martinez Gomez told police he believed he was picking up auto parts for a friend and delivering them to Chicago. But he was unable to tell police the friend's name or where he was delivering them.
"While we have made progress in our fight against illegal narcotics, the charges against (Martinez Gomez) remind us that we still have more work to do," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said following the hearing. "Thanks to the outstanding and continuous efforts of the Illinois State Police, 70 kilos of cocaine will not make it to our streets and more than $2 million in profits will not go into the pockets of those who peddle this poison."
Martinez Gomez is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Jan. 14 before Judge Brian Telander. A source of funds hearing also has been scheduled for that day should he attempt to post bail. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement also has placed an immigration hold on Martinez Gomez.