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Beach Park drug raiders score ounce of pot

Maxine Billick 47 walks through mess her bedroom caused by Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group officers as they searched her

Maxine Billick, 47, walks through a mess in her bedroom caused by Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group officers as they searched her home for drugs and paraphernalia. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 19, 2013 3:03AM

BEACH PARK — The grandparents and their 12-year-old grandson in Beach Park were not awake yet Thursday morning when drug enforcement raiders with the Illinois State Police forced their way into their home on Chaplan Avenue and turned their lives upside down.

“I thought I was going to die,” said Logan Boyland, 12, when police entered his room and flipped his bed as he crouched on the floor. At one point they ordered him over by his grandmother, Maxine Billick, who has custody of the boy.

“He told him to shut up or he was going to handcuff him,” she said.

“They broke the front gate,” Billick said when the drug agents entered their property at 10419 Chaplan Ave., then smashed in the front door and broke the glass on the rear sliding glass door.

“I thought it was a fireman when I heard the breaking glass,” she said. Then they used a flash grenade or a smoke grenade. “I couldn’t see a thing.”

Her husband, Michael, 51, told police there was a small amount of marijuana on the table in the basement. He was taken into custody and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, said Chris Sullivan, director of Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group which helped with the obtaining the search warrant. He said Illinois State Police were running the operation.

“It’s a Class 4 felony, that’s all I am going to say,” said Sullivan when asked how much marijuana was seized. Family members said it was less than ounce of marijuana.

The ranch-style house with an attached garage looks like many of the other homes on the rural subdivision street with no sidewalks. Sullivan said State Police may have used a diversionary device when executing the search warrant.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said it was a joint investigation and said officer believed it reached the assessment level in the criminal drug investigation for the amount of force they used. “It met the criteria,” she said, but she declined to outline what the is the criteria.

“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” she said and was not at liberty to comment further.

Maxine Billick said she is on disability and has herniated discs in her back that prevented her from lying down on the floor when the officers were shouting orders at her. She is also a diabetic and she said police wouldn’t allow her to take her medicine for nearly three hours. “I had to beg for a glass of water,” she said, because diabetics can get very thirsty.

“My poor grandson, he’s just so panicked,” she added. When her daughter Debbie, the boy’s mother, arrived, police would not let her take the boy out of the house. “They were not professional at all,” she said, explaining that porcelain dolls were thrown on the floor and broken, along with other collectibles called Dreamsicles that were in a clear glass case. “They just wiped them all out,” she said. Pictures were ripped off the wall and then trampled.

“I understand they thought we were bad people, but they didn’t have to destroy my house. Our lawyer said they trashed the house because they didn’t find enough marijuana. He’s giving us the name of a Chicago lawyer to work on the case,” she said.

She admits her husband smokes marijuana, but they don’t drink and they go to church. “I’d rather he smoke marijuana than drink. He smokes a little marijuana, but he stays at home and doesn’t go anywhere,” she said.

At the end of the ordeal she said they took her husband out the door and they were all leaving, but they forgot to un-handcuff her hands. “I said ‘excuse me’ can you un-handcuff me,” she said.

Now she is cleaning up and checking on the jewelry that was inside a safe her husband was forced to open up. There was some gold inside that she said is no longer there, but she has to check with her husband first to see if he had taken it out before the raid. She got $500 for the lawyer and was going back to the jail at 5 p.m. to try and bail her husband out .

“I don’t believe we deserved this,” she said.

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