Many police departments in Illinois and around the country equip their officers with portable drug-testing kits that are used to determine whether or not substances discovered in the field are illegal drugs. The kits are compact, inexpensive and easy to use, but they have been known to identify benign substances like baking soda and sugar as powerful Schedule I and Schedule II narcotics. Recent media reports suggest that this is what happened recently in South Carolina in a case involving Georgia Southern University starting quarterback Shai Werts.
In late July, Illinois authorities arrested six people during a series of drug busts over a two-day period. The incidents took place in and around Wood River.
A call from a concerned motorist about an erratic driver on the afternoon of July 8 led to a major drug seizure and serious narcotics charges for a 38-year-old man according to media reports. The motorist called 911 at about 1:45 p.m. to report a reckless driver on Illinois Route 106 between Detroit and Pittsfield. During the ensuing traffic stop, police allegedly found fentanyl, cocaine and heroin in the car.
On June 27, it was reported that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438, which made possession of cannabis legal for those over the age of 21. The reform was designed to help those who were previously impacted by the state's marijuana laws. In addition to making marijuana legal, approximately 770,000 Illinois residents who have marijuana-related offenses on their permanent records may receive some relief. The passing of the bill makes Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
On May 30, a federal judge in Illinois sentenced a former top-level member of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel to 15 years in prison. The defendant previously testified against infamous drug lord "El Chapo."
On May 21, an Illinois deputy was taken into custody on a warrant for unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. The deputy, who is employed with Peoria County Patrol, had reportedly been on administrative leave beginning on February 22.
At the end of March, a former Illinois police lieutenant was charged with six crimes, including possession of controlled substances. He left the Joliet Police Department in late 2018.
On March 17, an Illinois man was arrested on drug charges during a safety checkpoint conducted by officers with the Palatine Police Department. Reportedly, authorities raided the defendant's home days earlier, finding cocaine and other drugs.
On March 4, three people were taken into custody for drug charges after a traffic stop in Illinois. The incident occurred at approximately 1:55 p.m. in Warsaw.
A Lake County traffic stop on the morning of Feb. 19 ended in the arrest of a known gang member for multiple charges related to drug possession and intention to distribute illicit substances. The local gang task force overseen by the Lake County Sheriff's Office was responsible for the arrest of the 22-year-old male. He had already been identified as a potential affiliate of a local gang by the sheriff's office before the arrest.