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ISP makes big drug bust

Thursday, Feb 6, 2014

* Not to make light of this at all or encourage such behavior whatsoever, but somebody once told me that you should never break more than one law at a time to reduce your chance of being caught. Prolly good advice. From a press release…

Illinois State Police (ISP) officials today announced the seizure of more than 62 pounds of cocaine and heroin. The large load of narcotics was uncovered during a traffic stop stemming from a speeding violation.

On Sunday, February 2, 2014, at approximately 12:42 a.m., an ISP District 17 trooper observed a black 2014 Ford Explorer that was speeding eastbound on I-80 near milepost 72. The vehicle was stopped and during the traffic stop, the trooper detected an odor of burnt cannabis while speaking to the driver of the vehicle, Patrick S. Romolt, 41, of Arizona. A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded a small amount of cannabis and two duffle bags containing over 62 pounds of a suspected substance that later tested positive for both cocaine and heroin.

“Criminal organizations will go to any extent to transport narcotics across interstate lines and it’s up to law enforcement to try to stay one step ahead of them at all times,” said ISP District 17 Captain Robert Atherton. “This seizure underscores our unwavering commitment to the dismantling of these illegal criminal enterprises that can lead to violence and fatalities,” Atherton added.

Following the discovery of the illegal drugs, agents from the ISP Zone 3 Criminal Patrol (CRIMPAT) Unit, Will County Cooperative Police Assistance Team (CPAT), Joliet Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad (MANS), Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group (KAMEG) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) responded and assisted in the investigation.

Romolt was charged federally with Possession of more than 5 kilos of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. A second occupant of the vehicle was released without being charged.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Tom Joad - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:03 pm:

    Route 80 in Bureau County has been a drug corridor for many years. The ISP would often wait at U-turn spots used for stopping speeders as well. Many times the ISP would ignore speeders to wait for a drug shipment instead. That county is really tough on drug shipment criminals.

  2. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    I’d love to know how fast that driver was going.

    You’re carrying 62 pounds of hard drugs, worth millions of dollars, and you can’t stay under the speed limit or resist the urge to smoke a doobie?

    That’s why they call it dope people.

  3. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:15 pm:

    Many a time things are not as coincidental as they seem and busts like this protect the snitches. But Hey, whatever works. You have to wonder what the 2nd guy was thinking.

  4. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    Good point PJW. The alphabet soup of assisting departments is kind of a give-away there too.

  5. - curmudgeon - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:27 pm:

    = “You’re carrying 62 pounds of hard drugs, worth millions of dollars, and you can’t stay under the speed limit?” =
    = “Many a time things are not as coincidental as they seem and busts like this protect the snitches.” =

    I was always amazed how many times major drug busts came after a “speeding violation” or some other minor infraction leading to a traffic stop.

    This week a newsstory quoted on the Instapundit blog revealed that a lot of these are actually originating from NSA intercepts, tipped to the DEA, which get passed on to State/local police with the understanding that there will NEVER be any mention of the source ….

  6. - Sunshine - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:29 pm:

    Yep…..dope is the operative word!

  7. - very interesting - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:31 pm:

    There are still plenty of drugs available on the streets in Chicago. These “drug busts” do nothing to stop the real flow of drugs, yet make average folks think they do.

    The “War on Drugs” was lost years ago.

  8. - walker - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:34 pm:

    ====someone once told me that you never break more than one law at a time====

    “And I say, well, if their rambunctiousness and misdemeanorin’ is behind ‘em. It is, ain’t it boys?”

    Ain’t it Rich?

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    ===Ain’t it Rich?===


  10. - Skeptic - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:58 pm:

    “I was always amazed how many times major drug busts came after a “speeding violation” ” The Constitution says you can’t just stop someone. In those cases they know who they want, all they need is a (legal) reason to stop them. A tail light out? The license plate light is out? Didn’t use a turn signal? Good enough.

  11. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 5:11 pm:

    If people just paid attention in Driver’s Ed …

  12. - Carmax - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 5:49 pm:

    Looks like someone is going to be picking up a sweet explorer at auction

  13. - DuPage - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 5:54 pm:

    I think drug smuggling has been going on a long time. Reminds me of something I heard a few decades ago. At a truck stop by Bolingbrook, a lot of semi-trailers are “dropped” meaning parked and the truck-tractor drives away. This is a common practice, trucks switch loads, get repairs done, or whatever. Nothing unusual about that.

    What was unusual was to follow. The trailer was a refrigerated unit left running, making it look like the trailer had frozen food in it. It just happened something went wrong with the refrigeration motor and it made unusual noise and smoke. Someone called the fire dept. and they came out and shut the thing off. They couldn’t locate anyone there who the trailer belonged to, so they cut the padlock off to see if there was paperwork inside to identify who the load belonged to. Instead of that, they found a bunch of drugs.

    The firemen called the police and said guess what, we just found “a reefer full of reefer”. The trailer had several million dollars of drugs in it! They staked it out, but nobody ever came back for it. Someone might have seen what happened and tipped off the drug dealers. At least they prevented it from reaching the streets.

  14. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 6:24 pm:

    Also interesting that a bunch of cops from Kankakee and Joliet came over to Bureau County to help lock up the stoner.

  15. - FormerParatrooper - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 7:18 pm:

    No mention of the organization he was operating for. And he was only transporting 62lbs, seems a bit light for a major shipment.

  16. - CarrollCounty - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 8:10 pm:

    Well no one has said it yet,

    We should legalize and end this mistaken “war” that is tearing Mexico apart. Waste of lives and the same amount of people would use drugs.

  17. - Capo - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 8:40 pm:

    Not impressed. There seems to be nothing random about this supposedly random traffic stop. And after all of the conveniently available assisting agencies each claim seizure of 62 pounds of dope the stats will show the actual seizure of 372 pounds of dope. That way each unit can show why they need additional funding for the continuing war on drugs.

  18. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 9:19 pm:

    Carroll, you think we should legalize heroin and coke?
    Care to put a finer point on the argument?
    PS: Just guessing, but I bet that Explorer was a rental.

  19. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 9:23 pm:

    “second occupant released”


  20. - Capo - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 9:39 pm:


    More likely snitch.

  21. - the Cardinal - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 8:02 am:

    Heroin is the scourge of the suburbs , killing kids at an alarming rate. ISP and local groups nice work. Now lets see if the perp wants to make a deal?

  22. - Downstate - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 8:03 am:

    “looks like someone is going to pick up a sweet Explorer”

    A friend owns an auction house where these drug cars are often sold. He was shorthanded one weekend, so I helped move cars for the event. There were approximately 50 vehicles to be sold - I too thought there would be some great vehicles.
    Was I ever wrong. Most drug seizure cars have been completely upended by the police as they tear apart the interior looking for hidden cash or drugs.
    Also, not too suprisingly, not too many drug dealers are that careful about their car maintenance or interior.
    Of the 50 cars, there wasn’t one that I would have taken home.

  23. - NeveroddoreveN - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 8:10 am:

    I am with Capo on this one. You either have to wonder why 5 different agencies were needed to respond and assist in the investigation, or you have to wonder if they all worked together beforehand to identify a drug trafficking sting.

  24. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 8:40 am:

    Disappointed in this normally skeptical bunch believing at face value what’s in a press release from the cops. Of course you don’t speed per se when you’re hauling 25 kilos. You drive 5 mph over the limit, just like everyone else–after all, you don’t want to stand out. Trouble is, it is, in fact, illegal to drive even five over the limit, and it’s a virtual certainty that’s what the guy was doing. It’s known as a pretext stop, which means the cops were going to pull this guy over for something to check out whatever tip they had. If it hadn’t been speeding, it would have been failure to signal a lane change or an obscured license plate or tinted windows or a cracked windshield or failure to come to a full stop and count to five at an intersection with no traffic. You can’t drive anywhere without violating the traffic code–it’s so thick and filled with so much obscure stuff that no one could keep track of it while behind the wheel.

    This guy was going to get pulled over the second he got behind the wheel in Arizona or wherever it was. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if the passenger who was magically released pulled out a blunt and smoked out just before the stop so the cops would have probable cause to conduct a search. It was masterful timing. Without the smell of pot, they wouldn’t have had a reason to search the vehicle.

    It’s called a set up, and that’s how it works in the real world.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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