Junkyard Condemned Following Last Month's $9.5 Million Marijuana Bust

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Remember the semi-truck full of three thousand pounds of pot that was delivered to Rockford from Mexico last month? Well, the junkyard it was delivered to was condemned today. 23 News has an exclusive on what the Rockford Police Department’s Auto Theft Task force has found.

Padlocks closed the Forest City Recovery location this afternoon at 207 People's Avenue. Police have been investigating the junkyard for a year.

It was full of stolen cars and stolen catalytic converters. It had a special permit to operate, but that expired in April. The city sent the junkyard a cease-and-desist letter in May, but it wouldn't close down. It's been cited for open car titles, multiple zoning violations, and operating without a valid business license.

The investigation that started a year ago didn't have anything to do with drugs, but when marijuana from a Mexican drug cartel was delivered there last month investigators cracked down.

Sgt. Patrick Hoey said, "Once it was discovered on this property, our detectives who were dealing with the stolen cars brought it to our attention that this is the same property. We looked into further through city hall and found out they did not have the proper permit to operate. So we moved to shut the operation down because it appeared that the property was being used as a criminal enterprise for different criminal offenses."

Police say across the city there has been a rash of catalytic converters being stolen out of cars. Many of those converters were recovered at Forest City.

You can read more about the original bust here.

Release from the Rockford Police Dept.

The Rockford Police Department and the Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force have been investigating Forest City Recovery, 207 Peoples Avenue for several months. Forest City Recovery has been operating a salvage/scrap yard at this location.

In October 2010 a stolen vehicle and over 150 “open” vehicle titles were located on the property.

In April 2011 Rockford Police intercepted a semi-load of stolen used appliances. The driver admitted to taking this and other loads of appliances to Forest City Recovery.

In June 2011 The Secretary of State Police cited Forest City Recovery for being an unlicensed auto parts recycler and for failure to maintain documents for purchasing vehicles. Also, in June 2011 two more stolen vehicles were recovered from the property by Rockford Police and the Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force.

On September 12, 2011 Federal and local police confiscated approximately 3,000 pounds of cannabis on the property.

Also, in September 2011 Rockford Police Detectives located several catalytic converters on the property that were recently removed from vehicles. The Rockford Police Department and the Northern

Illinois Auto Theft Task Force alerted the public regarding a recent rash of auto thefts. When the stolen vehicles were discovered the catalytic converters were missing.

It was determined that Forest City Recovery had an expired special use permit to operate business at 207 Peoples Avenue. There application for a new permit was denied for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the recovery of stolen vehicles and suspicious activity on the property.

On 10-13-2011 the Rockford Police, Rockford Public Works, Rockford Community Development and Legal Department, along with Agents of the Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force inspected the property and subsequently condemned the property for building and zoning issues.

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