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Crime & Courts

Feds seek 2 wanted in DeKalb crack ring

SYCAMORE – Federal marshals are searching for two suspected crack-cocaine dealers after six of the 15 people charged in connection with the alleged drug ring appeared in DeKalb County court Wednesday.

Authorities said they suspect three Chicago men of running the drug ring in DeKalb and the surrounding area: Terry M. Griffin, 31, Antonnio B. Sanders, 31, and Christopher E. Bell, 29. Griffin was the ringleader, while Bell and Sanders ran the drugs from Chicago to DeKalb County, DeKalb County Sheriff Chief Deputy Gary Dumdie said.

DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said he hoped the arrests and two outstanding warrants would scare dealers away from the DeKalb area. The investigation, led by the sheriff's office with assistance from DeKalb police and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, began when authorities received a tip in January.

"I think it will make the dealers slow down and look for other locations than DeKalb County, which would be our goal," Scott said. "It also shows those from the outside, whether Chicago or Rockford or Aurora, that we're not asleep out here and we have connections with the DEA and other agencies to make full-scale investigations and significant arrests."

Sanders was arrested Tuesday in Chicago on nine counts of criminal drug conspiracy and delivery; the most serious charge he faces is typically punishable by up to 7 years in prison. His bail was set at $500,000, which would require posting $50,000 for release while the case was pending.

Griffin, whom Dumdie said has gang ties, faces a handful of charges alleging he possessed and delivered controlled substances. His bail is $1 million, and if convicted, he likely faces up to 30 years in prison. Bell is accused of delivering and conspiring to deliver controlled substances, and his bail was set at $500,000. The most serious charge he faces typically is punishable with up to 15 years in prison.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 815-895-3272, or call the Sheriff's office at 815-895-2155. Crime Stoppers might provide a $1,000 reward to anyone with helpful information.

Authorities said they did not find any evidence of local homes being used as "crack houses," and did not seize any drugs or weapons this week. They described the 12 local suspects as users and low-level dealers.

Court records indicate police watched meetings among the suspects in March in the 900 block of North 14th Street, DeKalb; near Oakwood and 14th streets in DeKalb, in the 300 block of North Eighth Street in DeKalb, and in a parking lot in the 1400 block of West Lincoln Highway.

On Tuesday, sheriff’s police arrested 10 people from DeKalb and Sycamore on charges of criminal drug conspiracy-possession, a low-level felony typically punishable by up to three years in prison. The six defendants who appeared in DeKalb County court Wednesday were appointed public defenders.

Arrested Tuesday were: Christopher J. Stogsdill, 45, of Sycamore; James B. Phillips, 55, of DeKalb; Jason Coppens, 38, of DeKalb; Brian D. Ottenhausen, 40, of DeKalb; Eldridge D. Moore, 62, of Sycamore; Terence J. Low, 57, of DeKalb; Ronald Bannister, 40, of DeKalb; Christopher K. Riggs, 36, of DeKalb; Dianatha Hardesty, 50, of DeKalb; and Andrew Burkett, 58, of DeKalb.

Most have bail of $5,000 or $10,000, but Hardesty's bail was set at $50,000. She has few assets, so prosecutors are seeking permission to question her about where she gets the $5,000 if she ultimately posts bail.

Two other people were arrested earlier in the investigation. Loretta Goodwin, 50, of DeKalb, was arrested March 19 for allegedly having less than 15 grams of cocaine. A police officer talked with her while she was sitting in her vehicle, thought she was acting suspiciously, and ultimately found the cocaine and a crack pipe in the car, court records show.

If convicted, Goodwin likely could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.

Deandre D. Calvin, 26, of DeKalb, was arrested March 27 for allegedly having 35 grams of cocaine, 3 grams of heroin and marijuana after police searched his home in the 800 block of Normal Road in DeKalb. The most serious charge Calvin faces typically is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

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