Amtrak passenger nabbed in Naperville with 45 lbs. of marijuana

A young man from Florida remained Saturday in DuPage County Jail on $250,000 bail, after he allegedly debarked from a passenger train in Naperville with 45 pounds of marijuana hidden in his travel bags. Sergio Sanchez, 17, of Orlando, Fla., will stand trial in DuPage County Circuit Court on a Class X felony charge of the manufacture or delivery of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis, according to court records. He faces a mandatory sentence of six to 30 years in prison upon conviction. “It appears to be high-grade marijuana,” said Will Taylor, public information officer for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office. Taylor said the marijuana would have had a street sale value of between $3,000 and $5,000 per pound, making the cache worth between $135,000 and $225,000.

Naperville police took Sanchez into custody shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday after he alighted from an eastbound Amtrak train. Taylor said he did not know whether the arrest was made at the Fourth Avenue commuter train station north of the city’s downtown area or the Route 59 depot. DEA agents began investigating Sanchez after he purchased a ticket on the west coast, Taylor said. They developed information Sanchez was carrying some sort of contraband. Federal investigators are “routinely” looking for people who are “using all modes of transportation” to move and smuggle narcotics, weapons and other illegal goods, Taylor said.

“We have groups (of agents) working airports, train stations and bus stations,” Taylor said. “It’s literally planes, trains and automobiles.” DEA investigators regularly partner with local law enforcement agencies, Taylor said. In Sanchez’s case, “we got in contact with Naperville police, and they had one of their K-9s available” for sniffing out drugs, he said. The dog began barking at Sanchez, and a subsequent search of the two suitcases and backpack he was carrying yielded 45 “packaged” pounds of marijuana, Taylor said.

Taylor said he did not know whether the marijuana was bound for the Naperville area. A Naperville police watch commander on Friday night did not return a telephone message that sought further information about the case. Sanchez’s arraignment date is pending.

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