ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A former St. Charles man has pleaded guilty to unlawful delivery of marijuana, a felony, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Circuit Judge John Barsanti accepted the plea Friday.
Nicholas A. Salemi, 24, now of California, agreed to the sentence and a fine of $41,490, which is a $39,000 fine plus court costs, records show. He and his co-defendants were charged in June.
According to state law, he is eligible for day-for-day sentencing and will receive credit for at least 168 days served in the Kane County jail, more than five months. Prosecutors presented evidence that between Feb. 19 and April 2, he and co-defendant Maryhelen Kwiatkowski allegedly shipped about five pounds of marijuana from California to Kane County through the U.S. Postal Service.
The charge against Kwiatkowski, 32, unlawful delivery of marijuana, also a felony, still is pending. Her next court appearance is Jan. 30.
Prosecutors alleged that some of the proceeds from the sale of the marijuana shipped to Kane County were received by codefendants Anthony and Gina Salemi, Nicholas Salemi’s parents.
Felony charges of money laundering are pending against Anthony Salemi, 56, and Gina Salemi, 52, of the 5N400 block of North Glenoak Lane, St. Charles Township.
The felony charges are punishable by two to five years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Other charges against Anthony Salemi include unlawfully producing or possessing cannabis plants, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of cannabis, all misdemeanors. Their next court date is Dec. 4.
Nicholas Salemi’s attorney, James Casement, said all other charges against his client were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Because his client had a previous possession conviction in Iowa, Nicholas Salemi was not eligible for probation.
“He had a medical marijuana grow operation in California that was legal,” Casement said. “Obviously, you can’t ship it or sell it to people in places where it’s not legal. If he had kept the system in California, it would have been fine.”
Casement said prosecuting and defending people for marijuana offenses “wastes everybody’s time.”
“I don’t think anybody should go to jail for marijuana. It is a waste of resources for something that will eventually be legal all across this country,” Casement said. “In Illinois, we are putting nonviolent criminals in jail for marijuana. ... There are drugs that are in use legally – like alcohol – that are far more dangerous to society and individuals than marijuana will ever be.”
Casement said Nicholas Salemi “maintains his parents’ innocence.”
The charges were the result of a joint investigation of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Homeland Security Investigations, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the North Central Narcotics Task Force and the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.