2 Evanston residents charged in $1.35M heroin bust

Patrick Svitek, Reporter

An Evanston man and woman face money laundering charges after authorities found $1.35 million worth of heroin in an Aurora, Ill., man’s home, police said Thursday afternoon.

Police seized 9 kilograms — almost 20 pounds — of the drug and are calling the bust one of the largest by a law enforcement agency in Kane County, which includes the west suburbs of Chicago.

“Heroin is dangerously addictive and often deadly, and it plagues nearly every community throughout the Chicago area,” Kane County state’s attorney Joe McMahon said in a news release. “This seizure removes from circulation a significant amount of heroin that otherwise would have been distributed throughout the Chicago suburbs.”

The bust led to the arrests of Evanston residents Juan C. Fernandez, 39, and Reyna Garcia-Manzanares, 41, as well as 41-year-old Modesto Alarcon of Aurora.

The three suspects were taken into custody Tuesday after local and federal investigators saw them meeting in Aurora, according to police. Authorities said Fernandez and Garcia-Manzanares left the area in a separate car from Alarcon, and police found $190,000 in cash when they pulled over the Evanston residents.

Investigators also searched Alarcon’s home in the 1000 block of Grove Street in Aurora, where they found the heroin, $85,000 in cash, a handgun, bullets and other drug-dealing materials, police said. They seized everything they found, according to authorities.

Alarcon has been charged with one felony count each of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and money laundering, according to police. Authorities said his bail was set Wednesday at $15 million.

Fernandez and Garcia-Manzanares each face one felony count of money laundering, according to authorities. Police said the Evanston residents were ordered held on $500,000 bonds Wednesday.

Alarcon is scheduled to appear in court April 18, while Fernandez and Garcia-Manzanares are set to appear April 11.

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Twitter: @PatrickSvitek

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