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On April 27, 2023, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group, a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) funded task force, concluded a narcotics investigation that resulted in serious charges for a man trafficking drugs.
Following a several-month long investigation, members of the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Group (SIG) developed information that the target of the investigation, Javier Franco, 26, of the 300 block of Oak Creek Drive, Wheeling, was traveling to deliver drugs to an individual in Lake County on April 27th. SIG detectives and Vernon Hills Police conducted a traffic stop on Franco’s vehicle in Vernon Hills. Sheriff’s K9 Zeus was summoned to the traffic stop to sniff around Franco’s vehicle. K9 Zeus gave a positive indication for the presence of drugs in the vehicle.
SIG detectives searched the vehicle and located over 85 grams of cocaine and found Franco was in possession of a 9mm pistol. Franco was traveling with his small child when pulled over. The child was cared for by detectives until a family member arrived to take the child.
At the same time as the traffic stop, SIG detectives conducted a search warrant at Franco’s home in Wheeling. SIG detectives located another 550 grams of cocaine and two additional firearms.
The facts and circumstances of the investigation were reviewed with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office who approved the following charges:
Armed Violence (Class X Felony)
Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Class X Felony)
Three Counts of Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class X Felonies)
Three Counts of Aggravated Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Class 2 Felonies)
Two counts of Child Endangerment (Class A Misdemeanors)
Due to crimes occurring in multiple counties, this case will be prosecuted by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
Sheriff John D. Idleburg said, “This is yet another impressive investigation and apprehension of a drug trafficker operating their business in Lake County. SIG, which is a collaboration of countywide and federal law enforcement, supported by HIDTA, took another three illegally possessed firearms off the street along with over a pound of cocaine during this operation.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Chicago Field Division and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), both SIG member agencies, were a significant part of this investigation. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office also thanks Vernon Hill Police Department and Wheeling Police Department for their assistance.
The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) was notified of the incident, due to the child being with Franco while he was delivering drugs, while armed with a firearm.
Franco remains held in the Lake County Jail pending an initial court hearing this morning.
All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.