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Suspect arrested in connection to busted crack-cocaine ring

Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 5:12 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 11:05 p.m. CDT
Christopher E. Bell,

SYCAMORE – Authorities are continuing to look for the suspected crack-cocaine ringleader after capturing one of his alleged associates Wednesday in Calumet City.

DeKalb County Sheriff's police, with help from Calumet City police, arrested Christopher E. Bell, 29, of Chicago, in a home in the 1600 block of Astor Street. Police received a tip and arrested Bell without incident about 12:45 p.m.

"They can hide for a while, but it'll catch up with them," DeKalb County Sheriff Chief Deputy Gary Dumdie said.

Bell was charged in April with delivering and conspiring to deliver controlled substances after the DEA and area police spent months investigating more than a dozen people involved in a crack-cocaine ring, authorities said.

Still wanted is Terry M. Griffin, 31, of Chicago, on a handful of charges alleging he possessed and delivered controlled substances. Griffin's bond is $1 million, and Dumdie suspects he's in hiding.

Griffin, who has gang ties, was the group's main crack supplier and used Bell and Antonnio B. Sanders, 31, of Chicago, to run drugs to DeKalb County, Dumdie said. The investigation started with a tip in January and eventually led to the arrests of a dozen local residents. Police have described the local suspects as drug users and low-level dealers.

The first of those cases was resolved in DeKalb County court Wednesday when Dianatha Hardesty, of the 900 block of North 14th Street in DeKalb, accepted a plea agreement.

Hardesty, 50, was sentenced to four years of probation after pleading guilty to criminal drug conspiracy and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Both charges are punishable up to three years in prison. In unrelated cases, Hardesty also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and domestic battery.

She was sentenced to 74 days in the DeKalb County jail – the time she served while the charges against her were pending.

As a part of her probation, she cannot drink alcohol and must submit to at least three random drug tests. She must also participate in the Victim Impact Panel on July 10. The program is for DUI offenders.

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