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Lake County sheriff K-9 finds 5 pounds of meth during traffic stop in Beach Park

Lake County sheriff canine Duke (left) with the recovered drugs. Jose Lopez-Arellanes (top), Efren Valadez (bottom left), and Brandon Hidalgo-Flores (bottom right).

A Lake County sheriff’s canine unit located five pounds of meth and a large quantity of cocaine, leading to the arrest of three men during a traffic stop in Beach Park.

A Lake County sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle around 2 p.m. Tuesday near Wadsworth Road and Green Bay Road in Beach Park for a traffic infraction.

During the traffic stop, Lake County sheriff’s canine Duke conducted a free air sniff around the vehicle.

Canine Duke indicated there was contraband in the trunk of the vehicle, according to Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli.

Sheriff’s deputies conducted a search of the trunk and located five pounds of methamphetamine, over 700 grams of cocaine and over 20 grams of heroin, Covelli said.

A stolen firearm and a money counting machine were also located in the vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle, Brandon Hidalgo-Flores, 23, of the 5000 block of South California Avenue in Chicago, was arrested.

Two passengers, Efren Valadez, 38, of the 5000 block of South California Avenue in Chicago, and Jose Lopez-Arellanes, 52, were also arrested. Valadez is a documented gang member, police said.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group conducted further investigation and obtained information to believe additional drugs were at an apartment in the 1900 block of Drake Avenue in Chicago.

The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Group obtained a search warrant for the apartment on Drake Avenue.

Special Investigations Group Detectives were assisted by the Chicago Police Department in the execution of the search warrant.

Covelli said that the warrant resulted in an additional seizure of nearly two pounds of methamphetamine, over 250 grams of heroin, over 40 grams of cocaine, oxycodone pills, morphine pills, another firearm, and a device commonly used to cut drugs and repackage them in kilogram bricks.

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“I am extremely proud of our deputies and the members of our Special Investigations Group who successfully removed a total of nearly seven pounds of methamphetamine and other deadly drugs from our community,” Sheriff John Idleburg said.

“Having recently received a federal HIDTA designation, our Special Investigation Group will have even more ability to keep drugs out of our community,” Idleburg added.

Lopez-Arellanes was charged with manufacturing/delivery of more than 400 grams of cocaine, manufacturing/delivery of more than 15 grams of heroin, manufacturing more than 900 grams of methamphetamine, possession of more than 900 grams of methamphetamine, possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine, possession of more than 15 grams of heroin and obstructing justice.

Lopez-Arellanes is being held in the Lake County jail on a $500,000 bond. He is due in court on September 1.

Valadez was charged with manufacturing/delivery of more than 400 grams of cocaine, manufacturing/delivery of more than 15 grams of heroin, manufacturing more than 900 grams of methamphetamine, possession of more than 900 grams of methamphetamine, possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine, possession of more than 15 grams of heroin, possession of a stolen firearm and felon in possession of a firearm

Valadez is being held in the Lake County jail on a $500,000 bond. He is due in court on September 2.

Hidalgo-Flores was charged with manufacturing/delivery of more than 400 grams of cocaine, manufacturing/delivery of more than 15 grams of heroin, manufacturing more than 900 grams of methamphetamine, possession of more than 900 grams of methamphetamine, possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine and possession of more than 15 grams of heroin.

Hidalgo-Flores remains held in the Lake County jail on a $500,000 bond. He is due in court on August 31.


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