Javier Franco, 26, of Wheeling (inset) was arrested Thursday following searches of his vehicle and residence that resulted in hundreds of grams of cocaine and multiple guns being recovered. | Provided Photos

Police say a drug trafficker who had a large amount of cocaine and multiple guns was arrested while driving in a vehicle with his child in Vernon Hills Thursday.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group (SIG) concluded a several-month-long drug investigation that resulted in the arrest of Javier Franco, 26, of Wheeling.

Members of the SIG developed information that the target of the investigation, Franco, was traveling to deliver drugs to someone in Lake County on Thursday, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli.

SIG detectives and Vernon Hills police officers conducted a traffic stop on Franco’s vehicle in Vernon Hills.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Canine Zeus was requested to the traffic stop to sniff around Franco’s vehicle.

Zeus gave a positive indication of the presence of drugs in the vehicle, Covelli said.

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Detectives searched the vehicle and located over 85 grams of cocaine and found Franco was in possession of a 9mm pistol.

Franco was traveling with his small child when he was pulled over, Covelli said.

The child was cared for by detectives until a family member arrived to take the child.

The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services was notified of the incident.

Detectives simultaneously conducted a search warrant at Franco’s home in Wheeling.

Detectives located another 550 grams of cocaine and two additional guns.

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and approved charges of armed violence, unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, three counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of child endangerment.

The most serious charge, armed violence, is a Class X felony that carries 15-30 years in prison if convicted.

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The case will be prosecuted by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office due to the crimes occurring in multiple counties.

“This is yet another impressive investigation and apprehension of a drug trafficker operating their business in Lake County. SIG, which is a collaboration of countywide and federal law enforcement, supported by HIDTA, took another three illegally possessed firearms off the street along with over a pound of cocaine during this operation,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Chicago Field Division and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), both SIG member agencies, were a significant part of the investigation, Covelli said.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Vernon Hills Police Department and Wheeling Police Department.

Franco remains held in the Lake County Jail pending an initial court hearing Friday morning.

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