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FBI seizes cash, drugs in Lansing

FBI seizes cash, drugs in Lansing

LANSING - The FBI, the Cook County Sheriff's Department and the Chicago

Police Narcotics Unit seized more than $1 million in cash and 10 kilograms of

cocaine from a Public Storage locker in Lansing this week, the FBI said Friday.

"We can't really comment" on what led federal agents to the mini-warehouse

complex at 2345 173rd St., an FBI spokesman said.

The authorities seized the drugs and money after arresting three Chicago

street gang members. Each man has been charged with two counts of knowingly and

intentionally conspiring with others to possess cocaine with intent to

distribute.

Dontay Banks, 22, of 6652 S. Oakley Ave. in Chicago; Carneil H. Simmons, 47,

of 4708 W. 177th St. in Country Club Hills; and L.C. Godfrey, 53, of 6608 S.

Campbell Ave. in Chicago appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan Gottschall,

who ordered them held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center pending an

upcoming hearing.

According to information released by the FBI, members of the Joint Task

Force on Gangs arrested Simmons Monday about 9 p.m. as he was unloading several

boxes of money from his car and putting them in the office of Montgomery and

Associates Realty Co. at 2261 W. 111th Street in Chicago.

A short time later, authorities arrested Godfrey on a nearby street, and

seized 10 kilograms of cocaine in the process.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the task force arrested Banks, the FBI said, and then

found the cocaine and cash in Lansing later Tuesday.

Law enforcement officials seized a total $1,673,821, including some money

found in a safety deposit box at an undisclosed location, according to FBI

Agent Bob Long.

"The majority of it, over 80 percent of it, was in the storage locker," the

FBI spokesman said. He said the division of the assets among law enforcement

agencies would be done under federal law, not state law. He also said it is

uncertain how much money for drug enforcement activities each agency will get.

Also seized during the investigation were a 9 mm handgun and seven autos,

Simmon's 1990 Mercury Cougar, a 1987 Chevrolet Astro van, a 1985 Buick Electra,

a 1988 Chevrolet Camaro, a 1987 Buick LeSabre, a 1988 GMC Jimmy and a 1967

Chevrolet Malibu.

It was unclear at press time whether Lansing authorities were notified about

the seizure. The FBI spokesman said he was also unsure whether the Lansing

Police Department would receive a share of the seized cash and assets.

"I don't know if they notified anybody (in the department) or not," said

Lansing Lt. Jack Hoekstra. "I'm sure if they notified us the chief probably

knew about it."

Chief Dean Stanley was not available for comment late Friday.

The FBI spokesman said there is no apparent connection between this week's

seizure at the storage warehouse and the April 29 seizure by Lansing police of

more than $5 million in cash from a suspicious van they found in a motel

parking lot.

Hoekstra said the fact that two large drug money seizures occurred in the

village in such a short time is "probably all coincidence."

"Everybody that's out there hustling, they're bound to run into something,"

he said. "I would say most likely it's just coincidence that different

investigations were coming to a head at the same time."

The FBI spokesman said he had "no information" on whether Lansing Police

were notified. Standard procedure for a seizure operation like the one Tuesday

"depends on the type of violation," he said. "Normally you would make a

notification. It depends on the time we would have and the circumstances at the

time."

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