Darien duo detained for dealing drugs
The men were moving large amounts of cocaine in the community and were arrested after a months-long investigation by the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit, said Sgt. Jeff Patek, who heads the unit.
Jorge Quinonez, 29, and his father, Roberto Quinonez, 53, both of 25 Market St., Darien, are probably among the area’s main cocaine suppliers, Patek added.
The drug unit seized a 416-gram block of cocaine, $31,000 in cash, a 2006 Chrysler 300, a 1999 Chevrolet Blazer, a 1999 Dodge Intrepid and a 2000 Chevrolet pickup truck, according to sheriff’s office officials.
Patek said the block of cocaine is estimated to be worth $9,000 to $10,000. If cut and packaged separately, the drug could be sold for about $100 per gram, he said.
The Thursday search warrant stems from a series of seven deals between Jorge and Roberto Quinonez and a sheriff’s informant between Feb. 23 and July 6, officials said. During those transactions, the informant bought more than 87 grams of cocaine using pre-recorded currency.
Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube, the prosecutor in charge of the case, said the items were hidden inside a hole in a basement wall behind the house’s boiler. There were two packs of money, bags of cocaine and about 900 grams of cutting agent to mix with the cocaine, he said.
“(The cutting agent) shows how he’s increasing the weight of his product to sell for more money,” Grube added.
Grube said he expects to charge Jorge with seven different counts of delivery for the controlled sales with a maximum total sentence of 100 years. Roberto was involved in five of those deals and faces a shorter sentence.
They are also expected to be charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine, which carries a maximum penalty of 45 years, Grube said.
Jorge Quinonez faced 45 years when he pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to deliver cocaine within 1,000 feet of a park in 2006. He was accused of selling nearly 140 grams of cocaine to a police informant between July and August 2005. Police also found more than $100,000 cash and at least 39 grams of cocaine at his Sweet Road apartment in Darien.
According to court records, Quinonez’s sentence was withheld and he instead served one year in jail and was given eight years probation.
Grube said he expects Jorge’s probation to be revoked. If that happens, the Darien man could be sentenced to 45 years on the 2006 charged plus the 145 years he faces for the recent charges.
Patek said it is early to speculate where the duo was getting their cocaine from, but he suspects they have connections with international drug dealers.
“Anytime you have somebody with that much weight, they have connections to other people and those people may have connection with the international trade,” Patek said.
Jorge worked at a factory in the area, and Roberto was unemployed. Given the amount of
cash found and the cars seized Thursday, the duo likely made a living off selling drugs, Patek said.
Patek said Jorge’s mother, who also lived at the house, won’t be charged with any crimes.
Acting Darien Police Chief Michael Maltese said his officers had previously investigated the case with unsuccessful results. He said one of his officers was told to “keep his hands off” this case by Walworth County sheriff’s officials, and at the time Maltese realized “something bigger was brewing.”
Maltese said he is concerned because Darien officers were not notified about the raid taking place at a house behind the police department. Officers heard about the search warrant through a police secretary who walked out the headquarters’ back door and heard a disturbance.
She then notified an officer, who went over to find out what was happening.
Maltese said he would have liked to have been notified about a raid of that scope taking place in his jurisdiction.
“A couple of Walworth County sergeants apologized that they did not notify us ahead of time before that,” he said. “My concern is an officer could be pulling out the back door, and he’s got no idea something like that is going on, and he gets hit or something.
“We should’ve been notified. But do they have to? No. But is it a professional courtesy? Yes.”
Darien police officers eventually assisted with traffic control and a traffic stop of one of the vehicles owned by the dealers, which was being driven by a family member, Patek said. That man was not connected to Jorge and Roberto Quinonez’s criminal activity, he added.
Jorge and Roberto Quinonez are being held on $75,000 cash bond. They are expected in court Wednesday, Sept. 2.