Five arrested in two-state marijuana raid
By Jim Hagerty
Five people from Illinois and Wisconsin were behind bars Thursday (March 3) after what police said is the first round of arrests in a major marijuana distribution ring.
After a four-month investigation, the State Line Area Narcotics Team (SLANT), along with officers from Freeport, City of Rockford, Monroe, Wis., Loves Park, and the Illinois State Police, searched several homes this week and seized more than 16,000 grams of packaged marijuana.
City and state agencies were assisted by the Green County and Stephenson County sheriff’s departments in the sting, which also yielded a crop of approximately 160 cannabis plants, more than $27,000 in cash and seven firearms.
Joseph Parnello, 37, of Argyle, Wis., Cara Beechum, 26, also of Argyle, and 33-year-old Theodore Thompson were charged with possession of cannabis with the intent to deliver and manufacturing marijuana.
Troy Thompson, 43, of Rockford, and 36-year-old Paul Lamont, of Ogle County, face the same charges. Thompson and Lamont were also charged with illegal possession of firearms and owning a firearm without an identification card.
According to an arrest report, Parenello and Beechum were renting an Agyle apartment from brothers Troy and Theodore Thompson. The resident doubled as a key site in the two-state operation.
Investigators said it is too early to tell how many customers the ring was supplying, however, police believe people from as far away as the Chicago suburbs may be involved.
More arrests are expected, officials said.
In Wisconsin, manufacturing and possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver is a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
According to Illinois law, possessing cannabis with the intent to deliver comes with fines ranging from $1,500 to $200,000 and incarceration for as long as 30 years.
Print This Article