Describing it as one of the largest marijuana busts in its history, the Cook County sheriff’s police has seized 5,525 pounds of the drug with an estimated street value of more than $20 million.
Charged with manufacturing and delivering cannabis, a Class X felony, is 35-year-old Frederico Moreno, whom authorities described as a “high-level importer” and part of a drug-trafficking organization.
The sheriff’s police, acting on a tip, conducted surveillance on Moreno at a house in the 7800 block of West 47th Street in west suburban Lyons, the agency said. Officers saw Moreno meet with various people, at one point exchanging a package “indicative of drug dealing,” the sheriff’s office said.
Police followed Moreno back to the home on 47th Street, then saw him leaving in his car with a Tupperware container, the office said. Investigators stopped Moreno and arrested him, allegedly finding marijuana in his car.
Officers returned to the house, where they saw another person flee out the back, the office stated, leaving the door ajar.
The officers saw 224 taped bales of marijuana stacked inside the home, the office stated. Moreno allegedly loaded the marijuana at the 47th Street house at night through a printing company warehouse attached to the back of the home.
An associate of Moreno had access to the warehouse after hours and rented the house from the printing company. Neither that associate nor anyone from the printing company is charged in this case.
The marijuana came from Mexico, the office said. The packages were to be sold wholesale to mid-level distributors before being broken down for street-level sales.
If convicted of the Class X felony, Moreno faces between 6 to 30 years in prison. He will appear for a bond hearing Saturday in Cook County Criminal Court in Bridgeview.