Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rockford police: Van had 1,300 pounds of marijuana


ROCKFORD — State and Winnebago County police Friday night recovered nearly 1,300 pounds of cannabis — with a likely street value of about $650,000 — from a white cargo van pulled over for a minor traffic violation.

A female is being held in the Winnebago County Jail on the traffic charges and violation of the cannabis control act. Police would not release any more information about the suspect.

The van was pulled over by Illinois State Police at 10:03 p.m. at Bell School Road and Riverside Boulevard Friday, and officers called in Winnebago County’s canine unit. The officers then discovered the massive amount of cannabis, which Winnebago County Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro said likely is a record amount recovered for this area.

“If not, it’s certainly the biggest in my memory,” said Iasparro, who has been an officer with either Rockford or Winnebago County for more than 35 years.

Iasparro said cannabis sells for about $500 a pound, “and that’s a conservative estimate,” meaning the cargo van was carrying at least $650,000 worth of cannabis.

How much is nearly 1,300 pounds? That’s the average weight of a speedboat you see on the Rock River.

Assistant Business Editor Alex Gary may be reached atagary@rrstar.com or at 815-987-1339.