Joliet Police Spend 3 Months Investigating Neighborhood Marijuana Sale

JOLIET, IL — The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office of Jim Glasgow has asked a judge to declare the 2006 Toyota Sienna owned by Joliet resident Lori Martin to become a forfeited asset for the police following a lengthy recreational marijuana investigation of an east side neighborhood “drive through” operation that took place in June, July, August and September.

The marijuana investigation was led by Joliet police officer Melissa Andrzejewski, and she conducted surveillance on the neighborhood on multiple occasions beginning in June.

According to the forfeiture complaint involving the 2006 Toyota Sienna:

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Officer Andrzejewski took a phone call on June 5 from a supposed anonymous caller who told her that several people ran an “open air” drug market in the 600 block of Elmwood Avenue and people were selling marijuana and possibly other drugs. However, the court documents from the forfeiture make it clear that marijuana was the only item being sold.

The Joliet police officer learned that the marijuana distributors arrive around 9 a.m. and stay until 10 p.m. During her surveillance, the complaint notes that Andrzejewski saw Joliet resident Quentin Winston make nine hand-to-hand transactions with vehicles that pulled into the 600 block of Elmwood.

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The next day on June 6, according to the complaint, Officer Emily D’Amico helped with the surveillance, and she saw Quentin Winston exit his Jeep and enter the 2006 Toyota Sienna that is the focus of the civil forfeiture complaint.

“Winston stayed on scene and conducted numerous hand-to-hand transactions with vehicles that had pulled up waiting to be ‘served,'” the complaint noted. From 4:32 p.m. and 5:47 p.m., Winston conducted another one dozen hand-to-hand transactions and at 5:47 p.m., Lamar Bridges returned, and he did at least 18 hand-to-hand transactions, court files show.

“It should be noted that when the operation was done for the day, Martin grabbed a black bag from the trunk of the white 2007 Toyota Sienna minivan and took it with him in his silver 2006 Toyota Sienna,” the complaint outlined.

Officer Andrzejewski did another surveillance on July 13 in the 600 block of Elmwood Avenue, and she saw Larry Martin and Winston make 11 hand-to-hand transaction with people arriving in vehicles waiting for “service,” the forfeiture noted.

“Bridges stood with Martin behind the white 2007 Toyota Sienna and then appeared to grab something and walk it over to a waiting customer, at which time he did a hand-to-hand transaction,” court records reflect.

Then, on Sept. 7, Officer Andrzejewski was back in the 600 block of Elmwood and this time she saw Bridges place his bag in the truck of his vehicle, a white Ford Escape, and “it’s worth noting that Bridges’ trunk on the white Escape was open, which appears to be the universal sign that ‘The Drive Thru’ is open for business,” the forfeiture noted.

According to the court records, Bridges did a hand-to-hand transaction with someone at 9:06 a.m., 9:13 a.m., 9:19 a.m., 9:22 a.m., 9:23 a.m., 9:48 a.m. and then at 9:59 a.m. Winston arrived, and he served a red mini-van; Larry Martin arrived, driving his wife’s Toyota Sienna, and Winston served several more vehicles until the Joliet Police SWAT team and narcotics officers revealed their presence. They questioned Martin as he sat in the driver’s seat of his wife’s vehicle.

Joliet police found 9.8 grams of marijuana in Martin’s right jacket packet, and in his left pants cargo pocket was $2,103 in cash. “Both Quentin Winston and Larry Martin were taken into custody and transported to the Joliet Police Department,” court records show.

At the police station, Winston told Joliet police he has not worked in more than a year and “did not deny that the cannabis was his, but he wasn’t sure the weight on all the bags that were recovered,” the complaint noted. Winston told Joliet police the bags of marijuana sold for $10 or $15 and “Winston refused to acknowledge his relationship with Larry and or Lori Martin.”

Meanwhile, Larry Martin “repeatedly stated that he’s not there harming or hurting people and that the bags sell for $25 to $35 per bag. Martin refused to admit he sells cannabis but wanted to make it clear that he was not hurting anyone and that the dispensary prices were very high, while the cannabis on the street was of equal or better quality as the dispensary and much cheaper,” the forfeiture pointed out.

The 2006 Toyota Sienna registered to Martin’s wife is now the subject of the Will County forfeiture because it was involved in a felony violation of the Cannabis Control Act, court documents show.

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