Alleged Drug Dealers Ruin Second Chance

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

"They learn how to make drugs and sell drugs."

Recovering crack cocaine addict Bertha Duarte says she's not surprised nearly half the drug dealers accepted into Rockford Police's Alternative Drug Strategy Program, failed out. 23-year-old Angela Thomas and 28-year-old Victor Leavy were told if they stayed out of trouble, they wouldn't go to prison for selling drugs. Now there's a warrant out for their arrest.

"The boys the girls they sell drugs because it's fast money drugs and prostitution will sell faster than anything else in Rockford," Duarte says.

Thomas was busted for felony retail theft. Leavy, charged with assault while visiting in Minnesota. Now they'll join seven others in prison, after they were arrested during a drug sweep of the Coronado Haskell Neighborhood. Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson says despite their relapse, he says the program is doing well.

"The success is not on whether somebody re offended the success is we are ridding the overt drug market in fact we are in that area," says Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson.

Epperson says criminal activity is slowing. In May, 185 offenses were reported. That dropped in June, with 168. Numbers many hope continue to go down.

Epperson says even if the three remaining drug dealers in the program commit a crime, they'll keep the program going. Because police say the Coronado Haskell neighborhood has improved. They're in the process of starting another Alternative Drug Strategy program in a different part of town. Police won't say where, but the information will be released by Thanksgiving.

250-thousand dollar warrants are issued for both people. They each could serve 30-years in prison. Since they used up their get out of jail free card, they'll have felony drug charges along with the assault and retail theft charges.


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