DECATUR — Sharp-eyed witnesses told police where to look to find a hidden stash of illegal drugs and a stolen handgun after a driver crashed his car on Decatur’s western edge, police said.
The crash had happened June 4 at the intersection of Illinois 121 and the Interstate 72 interchange according to a sworn affidavit from Decatur police that was released Wednesday. The 19-year-old driver was not arrested until Tuesday, however, and the affidavit did not explain the delay.
The affidavit said witnesses told police they had seen the driver, his disabled vehicle stuck on the median, climb out and hide a black box amid underbrush in a nearby ditch. He then went back to his car and waited for the police to arrive.
The affidavit said police asked the driver about what he had hidden, and he “denied disposing of anything in the ditch.” A Decatur police officer then went to the area the witnesses had pointed out and immediately retrieved a “black metal briefcase.”
The affidavit said a K-9 unit was brought in from the Warrensburg Police Department, and the dog immediately indicated on the briefcase. Inside, the affidavit said, police found a 9 mm handgun that checked as stolen. Police also found 5.6 grams of methamphetamine concealed in a secret compartment inside a coffee mug which also held a measuring cup and eight plastic baggies, the affidavit said.
The affidavit said 13 grams of cannabis was found in a separate container in the briefcase along with a digital scale marked by drug residue.The affidavit, which described detective Lorne Sturdivant as the arresting officer, said the drugs, scale and baggies are consistent with items carried by a drug dealer. “And I know from training and experience that some drug dealers will possess handguns … for protection while they are out delivering drugs,” the affidavit added.
The driver was booked on preliminary charges of armed violence, possession of a weapon by a felon, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of meth and cannabis with intent to deliver. Preliminary charges are subject to review by the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The driver remained in the Macon County Jail on Wednesday night in lieu of posting $75,000 bond.