Illinois Public Media News

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 03, 2012

Synthetic Drugs Seized from Champaign Stores as Part of AG’s Initiative

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's effort to ban Illegal synthetic drugs has included collecting more than $50,000 in drugs on Tuesday from Champaign stores.

Madigan's office targeted Champaign and Bloomington-Normal as part of 'Operation Smoked Out.' Illinois is among the states that have banned the bath salts and synthetic marijuana. By far the largest amount - more than 1,800 packs, were seized from the Smoke Shack at 208 E. Green Street. The drugs have a street value of about $44,000. Meanwhile, more drugs valued at $13,000 were taken from Global Tobacco at 202 E. Green.

"With these businesses sitting in the heart of our campus community, keeping our teens and students safe is a priority for our department," said Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb. "The Champaign Police Department thanks the Attorney General's office and associated agencies for a proactive approach to removing synthetic drugs from our city streets."

The synthetic drugs are known to contain chemical compounds that mimic the effects of cocaine or methamphetamine.

In the Normal area, about $50,000 in synthetic drugs were surrendered by six tobacco and convenience stores.

"Bloomington, Normal, and Champaign have significant numbers of college students who have been enticed to purchase and use these illegal and dangerous products," said Attorney General Madigan. "Retailers in these college towns should be aware that law enforcement will soon be walking through their front door to ensure that these dangerous, illegal drugs are not for sale."

Madigan's office has proposed legislation to target the retail sale of synthetic drugs.

(Photo courtesy of the Illinois Attorney General's office)




AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 29, 2012

Quinn Officials Will Halt Prison Remodeling

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's administration is halting work on a juvenile detention center some lawmakers thought was illegal.

Department of Juvenile Justice spokesman Kendall Marlowe said Thursday afternoon that the agency will halt remodeling the Illinois Youth Center at St. Charles "out of deference'' to lawmakers.

The legislative Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability thought the $4 million project was accelerated to accommodate new detainees currently housed at the Joliet youth center. That would violate the closure law.

Quinn plans to close the Joliet center and other state-run facilities to save money. The legislative commission has an advisory say in the matter and suggested halting the work on St. Charles.

Marlowe says the justice agency maintains the work is not illegal but will not start it until plans are finalized.



AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 27, 2012

Ill. Panel Asks Feds for Info on Arrested Lawmaker

A special committee of the Illinois House began investigating Representative Derrick Smith today. He was arrested two weeks ago on federal bribery charges. The hearing is one of the first steps in a long process that could lead to Smith being expelled from the House.

The committee's first meeting was mostly organizational. Its next step is asking federal prosecutors for more information on the charges against Smith. The Chicago Democrat is accused of accepting $7,000 in cash from a daycare in exchange for writing a letter supporting its grant application.

Specifically, the six representatives on the investigative panel want a copy of the letter and a list of witnesses. But even if federal prosecutors say no, legislators say they have enough to continue. State Rep. Dennis Reboletti, of Elmhurst, is the committee's ranking Republican.

"Rep. Smith has not been in session since the allegations," Reboletti said. "There are constituents who are going to be calling his office (and) may need other support, and so these are things we're going to have to take a look at. I think there's going to be things outside the four corners of that petition that we'll be able to take into evidence and consider but right now I have made no presumption either way."

A lawyer for the committee said he notified Smith of the hearing, but Smith did not show up. Attempts to reach Smith by phone and e-mail were unsuccessful. The committee expects to hear from federal prosecutors in time to meet the week of April 9.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 27, 2012

Imprisoned Former Gov’s Home Taken Off The Market

A spokesman for Rod Blagojevich says the imprisoned former Illinois governor's family is no longer selling their Chicago home.

Glenn Selig tells WLS-TV in Chicago (http://bit.ly/GOLiRs) former Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich has decided taking the house off the market is best for daughters Amy and Annie. Selig says Patti Blagojevich wants to avoid the stress of showing a house during a time already filled "with so much upheaval."

Earlier this month Rod Blagojevich started serving a 14-year sentence at a Colorado federal prison.

The house had been for sale since last year with an asking price of $1.07 million. The 13-room brick home is in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood.

The house was where FBI wiretaps captured Blagojevich talking. It's also from where federal agents led him away in handcuffs.



AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 20, 2012

Arrested Lawmaker Wins Dem Nomination

A Chicago Democrat has won his party's nomination for the Illinois House despite his arrest on a federal bribery charge.

Rep. Derrick Smith was appointed to his seat last spring after his predecessor moved up to the Senate.

Federal prosecutors allege Smith accepted a $7,000 bribe ten days ago in exchange for what he thought was his endorsement of a state grant for a daycare operation. Authorities claim it was part of an undercover sting.

Smith won 77 percent of the vote over Tom Swiss. Swiss is a former Republican activist who says he has independent views.

Smith received more than $60,000 for his campaign from Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan.



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