NATIONWIDE DRUG SMUGGLING
Wednesday, July 07, 2010— A Chicago man is being held on $50,000 bond after he was arrested while transporting drugs he had arranged to pick up from the lobby of an Evanston apartment building, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Wednesday.
Milton Williamson, 44, of the 2500 block of West Rosemont Avenue, is charged with cannabis trafficking and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, both of which are Class X felonies, the highest criminal charge in Illinois.
Police seized a total of almost a quarter-million dollars worth of drugs between the package Williamson had and another delivered a block away as he was being arrested.
Williamson, a Jamaican native who immigrated to the United States in the 1980s, was arrested as a result of an investigation that began last month when officers with the Cook County Sheriff’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, based at the Cook County Jail, received a tip that a package filled with drugs was on its way from California to the Chicago area. Those operating the drug ring used private shipping carriers to send the drugs across the country.
CIU then worked with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police gang crimes and narcotics team to carry out the investigation. They learned the shippers would use valid addresses for the packages to be delivered to, but would instruct local drug dealers to follow tracking codes to know when to wait outside that address for the package to be delivered.
Williamson had been under surveillance by investigators, who observed him engaging in suspicious behavior on multiple occasions. That led the investigators to work with a local shipping company to stop the flow of drugs into the area.
Because of that cooperation, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office is not identifying which private carrier assisted with this investigation.
On Thursday, investigators watched as Williamson arrived in the area of Grove Street and Chicago Avenue in Evanston, shortly after a package had been delivered to an apartment building in the 1500 block of Chicago Avenue. Though the common area of that building was secured, Williamson entered via an unsecured entrance and took possession of two packages delivered to valid addresses there. Investigators watched as he briefly went on an elevator and then emerged with only one package filled with drugs. He was then arrested.
That package contained 20,450 grams of marijuana – packed in cellophane in a plain brown shipping box - valued at more than $160,000.
As Williamson was being arrested, investigators again received a tip that a suspicious package was being delivered just a block away.
Investigators then went to the 1400 block of Chicago Avenue to find a large shipping box waiting in the lobby of an apartment building there. Inside was 6,810 grams of marijuana – packed inside a large hardware store bucket – valued at nearly $60,000.
There is no evidence that anyone at either building knew their addresses were being used for drugs to be smuggled into Chicago.
Monday, Williamson appeared before Daniel E. Jordan, who set bond at $50,000. As a condition of his bond, however, Jordan said if Williamson is able to post the required 10 percent to go free while awaiting trial, there must be a court hearing to determine the source of the funds.
Williamson’s next court date is set for July 13.