A nondescript two-story parking garage in the Loop is generating a lot of work for police and prosecutors lately. Since April 1, cops have made three arrests, recovered two guns, and seized a lot of pot and other drugs at the easy-to-miss garage at 801 South Wabash, according to prosecutors. It’s the same garage where a 16-year-old boy was fatally shot in November.
On top of all of that, police last month included the garage on a list of downtown parking facilities that were being targeted in a wave of auto break-ins across the Loop. Perhaps because of those burglaries, cops have been paying more attention to the garage lately.
During one swing through the garage on April 2, police interrupted an apparent drug deal in progress, prosecutors said. A big one, allegedly. When it was all over, cops said they seized over $10,000 cash, garbage bags full of THC pens, and various forms of cannabis and synthetic cannabis — including a bag of “green leafy substance” labeled “Georgia Pie.”
After prosecutors presented allegations of Class X manufacture-delivery of cannabis and other felonies against a man police arrested at the scene, 19-year-old Naser Hasan, Judge David Navarro marveled at the amount of product he was accused of having.
“You’ve got a Class X amount of cannabis,” Navarro said. “You don’t really ever see Class X cannabis charges — or I don’t ever see. I don’t know about you. That’s 6- to 30 on that one, mandatory.”
Last week, police made two arrests on two different nights at the same garage. They allegedly recovered a gun and felony amounts of cannabis both times.
Around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, cops patrolled through the garage and found four people sitting in a car with open alcohol, Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Burkhardt said during a bond court appearance for one of the men who were allegedly in the car, Juan Razo.
Police ordered Razo, who had a fanny pack sitting at his feet, and the others out of the car, Burkhardt said. Cops found a loaded handgun in Razo’s pants, he said. The fanny pack contained about 5 ounces of pot and 98 hits of LSD with a combined street value of $2,370, according to Burkhardt.
Prosecutors charged Razo, 20, with armed violence, resisting police, and two controlled substance counts. Burkhardt told Judge John Lyke that Razo is on probation in Lake County for a gun case and has two juvenile convictions.
Lyke recounted Razo’s background: “As a juvenile in 2015, a reckless discharge [of a firearm] case. That judge sent him to jail. 2018 another gun case. That judge sent him to jail. And now, the police say, ‘You know what, Mr. Razo? We’re gonna charge you with armed violence.”
“If you’re convicted of that, you’re looking at 15 years in prison with no probation,” Lyke continued. “So, basically, they’re saying they’re tired of you, sir.”
The judge set bail for Razo at $75,000 and ordered him to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post a 10% deposit.
Two nights later, around 9:10 p.m. Thursday, cops wandered through the parking garage again and found a minivan running with no front license plate, prosecutors said. When officers looked inside the van, they allegedly saw a scale, 44 grams of cannabis, and small plastic baggies.
Jacob Smith, 32, was in the driver’s seat and the butt of a loaded handgun was sticking out of the back of a passenger seat, prosecutors said.
Smith is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, manufacture-delivery of cannabis, and a motor vehicle title violation. Prosecutors said he’s on probation for another gun case that he pleaded down to a misdemeanor from a felony.
Judge Arthur Willis set his bail at $5,000 on the new charge and $15,000 for violating the terms of probation. Smith will need to go onto electronic monitoring if he posts the $2,000 deposit required for his release, Willis said.