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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Four plead not guilty in federal court

     

    ROCKFORD – Four men pleaded not guilty this week to federal charges stemming from a large-scale marijuana-growing operation in Paw Paw.

    Donald P. Cipra, 27, Shannon L. Gregory, 39, both of Paw PawBenjamin F. Garcia, 25, of Aurora, and Eric M. Konrady, 25, of Naperville, were indicted April 12 on charges of conspiring to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants and possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug conspiracy.

    A detention hearing for Cipra will be held today. Hearings for Konrady and Gregory will be held Friday. Garcia’s detention hearing is Monday.

    During a federal detention hearing, the judge will hear evidence to determine whether a defendant should be held in jail pending trial or released with conditions.

    The four were arrested March 26 after officers from the Illinois State Police Blackhawk Area Task Force and other agencies raided their rented houses at 1025 and 1027 Paw Paw Road.

    Officers say they found 458 marijuana plants in various stages of growth in the basements, items used to grow marijuana, about 16 ounces of harvested marijuana, and 13 firearms.

    All four have pending state charges of armed violence, production of marijuana plants and calculated criminal marijuana conspiracy.

    Lee County State’s Attorney Henry Dixon has said he will dismiss those charges, probably at a May pretrial conference now that the more serious federal charges have been filed.

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