Law enforcement officials announce distribution of $12 million seized in drug case

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EAST MOLINE - Illinois State Police law enforcement officials joined federal authorities from New York today to announce the distribution of more than $12 million seized in a drug conspiracy case resulting from a routine traffic stop in Illinois in June 2009.

Authorities say $12,515,738 was seized during the five-year investigation, with $8,923,708.19 being distributed to 33 law enforcement agencies in Illinois, California, and the Capitol District area.

The investigation was launched after an Illinois State Police Trooper uncovered about 334 pounds of marijuana inside a vehicle after a routine traffic stop.  The investigation led to multiple witnesses cooperating with authorities in Illinois, California, and New York, as well as leads with multiple law enforcement agencies across the nation being developed.

Authorities say the drugs were intended to be moved from California to upstate New York for distribution.  Through a controlled delivery planned with the Albany DEA Office, the drugs arrived at their destination, where three co-conspirators, Melissa Giove, Eric Canori, and Robert Reinfurt, were arrested.  Two others, Pamela Grosch and Sara Shafer, were eventually arrested as well.

At the time of the arrests, authorities say they seized $1,473,543 in cash and approximately 40 pounds of marijuana from Canori's residence.  Another search of a home in California that was rented by Canori yielded another $688,660 in cash, which was also seized.

Authorities also say that two pickup trucks and a trailer were seized and forfeited as well.  Law enforcement agents were also provided with the locations of buried gold and silver.  A 100 ounce silver bar, 161 gold coins, and 172 gold bars were recovered, forfeited, and auctioned.

Authorities announced in addition to the $8,923,708.19 being distributed among law enforcement agencies, twenty percent of the $12.5 million in seized assets, or $2,503,147.60, went to the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program.  Expenses involved with seizing, maintaining, and liquidating the assets totaled $1,088,882.21.
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