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Crime & Courts

Defendant in drug case seeks lower bond

ST. CHARLES – The attorney for a third person charged with trafficking marijuana from Arizona to the Sugar Grove and Aurora areas asked for a bond reduction during a hearing Friday.

Bond was set at $27 million for Dean A. Dziuba, 55, of Darien, who was charged along with four others Nov. 13 when nearly 600 pounds of marijuana was seized from their vehicles after a three-month investigation.

Dziuba was charged with marijuana trafficking, possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana. Three others – Richard G. Ecklund of Batavia; Matthew A. Westerlin of Elburn; and Crystal L. Westerlin of Elburn – received the same charges.

A fifth defendant, Mary L. Nunez of Batavia, has been charged with marijuana trafficking.

Bond was set at $27 million for all defendants except Ecklund, whose bond was set at $35 million.

Attorney Tom St. Jules asked Judge David Akemann to consider reducing Dziuba’s bond to $25,000, stating Dziuba believed he could return to his job at a car dealership if he were released from custody. St. Jules added that Dziuba would reside with his father in Darien.

St. Jules also said Dziuba’s criminal record was sparse, and includes a driving under the influence charge and possession of marijuana charge that resulted in court supervision.

St. Jules said the crimes Dziuba is accused of are nonviolent offenses, adding he believes the bond that was set is oppressive, which goes against bond statute.

“He’s been a law-abiding citizen all his life,” St. Jules said.

But Assistant State’s Attorney Kelly Orland argued the bond is reasonable because it is based on the street value of the marijuana being trafficked, which totals about $2.6 million.

She said Dziuba made statements to police about making prior trips to pick up marijuana, and he was likely a significant member of the drug cartel.

Police charged Dziuba after finding about 300 pounds of marijuana in his 2009 Lexus – a vehicle Orland said was purchased by a drug cartel in Dziuba’s name to use for marijuana runs.

“They thought significantly enough of him to buy a car and put it in his name,” she said. “He’s more than just a driver here, judge. He’s a significant part of this drug cartel.”

Orland added a $25,000 bond would not satisfy bond statute.

A status hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, where the court will review a source of funds motion to determine whether funds used to bond out come from a legal source.

The Westerlins were in court Friday after their lawyer, Public Defender Julia Yetter, asked Wednesday that their bond also be reduced from $27 million.

Yetter said Matthew Westerlin’s father had $1,000 to put toward his bond, and Crystal Westerlin’s family also had $1,000 to put toward her bond. Yetter said she planned to file a source of funds motion for both Matthew and Crystal Westerlin, which will be reviewed Thursday.

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