Out of the Wrong Hands

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Now it's no longer on our streets. It's a major migration of marijuana from Iowa to Rockford.

Three weeks ago the Rockford Police Department was tipped off by Iowa officers. Quick thinking and the right attack landed five potential drug dealers behind bars. All were holding on tight to 625 pounds of cannabis.

Three weeks ago Rockford Police got a tip from law enforcement in Iowa. Thursday morning search warrants were obtained and police busted into two homes one at 2329 9th Street and the other at 2313 Clifton Avenue.

Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson says, "I would assume that these individuals have been involved in this type of activity before. Either they are quick learners or they have been doing it for awhile."

Taking down 32-year-old Luis Flores, 23-year-old Jorge Perez, 20-year-old Efren Perez-Lopez, 19-year-old Maria Avila and 52-year-old Miguel Guzman was a group effort. Officials from Illinois and Iowa were involved.

Mark Giuffre with the Drug Enforcement Administration states, "It's rare that you see local, state and federal units joining together for one operation. I think that's the statement here. Look what happened."

Marijuana is a growing problem. It's often known as a gateway drug. Youth turn to marijuana before hitting the hard stuff like cocaine or meth. Marijuana is also a major money maker in this case 625 pounds equals a half a million dollars.

Chief Epperson says, “There is a lot of commerce things that move through here. The bad things are hurting our city, guns, gangs, and drugs. I can't pinpoint why."

Law enforcement will trace the origin of this massive stash of marijuana. That may lead to more arrests and more drugs in the right hands instead of the wrong hands. The Winnebago County States Attorney's office plans to aggressively prosecute the five criminals. They could face 30 years in prison.