Two men face prison terms of up to 60 years after 19 pounds of methamphetamine was allegedly discovered in the Ford SUV they were traveling in. The drugs were found during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 80 in the Illinois Valley on the morning of Oct. 25. Due to the size of the drug haul, which is thought to be the area’s largest methamphetamine seizure ever, the men have been charged with Class X felony counts and face longer prison terms and cannot be sentenced to probation.
The two men were taken into custody after their Ford Edge SUV was pulled over for an unspecified traffic violation in Bureau County near Spring Valley. While they were being questioned, a K9 unit is said to have alerted while conducting an air sniff around the vehicle. This prompted officers to impound the SUV and transport it to a Princeton Police Department facility for a more rigorous inspection.
During this inspection, police say that they found 19 packages containing a substance believed to be methamphetamine in the vehicle’s door panels, dashboard and spare tire area. Police say that the packages had been vacuum-sealed in an attempt to throw off drug-sniffing dogs. In addition to being sentenced to lengthy prison terms, the men could be ordered to pay a fine equal to the $862,600 estimated street value of the drugs.
When presented with facts like these in cases involving serious drug offenses, experienced criminal defense attorneys may study police reports closely to determine whether or not drug-sniffing dogs were present when the original traffic stop was made. This is because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police may not prolong traffic stops unreasonably to allow K-9 units to be called to the scene.
Source: The La Salle News-Tribune, Drug team makes record meth bust on I-80 in Bureau County, Kim Shute and Tom Collins, Oct. 29, 2018