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Accused drug dealer misses court date

Rene Gomez-Cazares

Rene Gomez-Cazares

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Updated: January 8, 2013 6:23AM

A $500,000 bench warrant was issued Thursday for one of two Waukegan men accused of bringing five pounds of crystal meth to allegedly distribute in Waukegan.

Lake County Circuit Judge James Booras issued the warrant after Jose Hernandez-Hernandez, 28, did not appear for his arraignment.

Hernandez-Hernandez and co-defendant Rene Gomez-Cazares, 23, were charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver after authorities caught them with 3,740 grams of meth, Assistant State’s Attorney Danielle Pascucci said. Police said the crystal meth had a street value of $227,000.

Hernandez-Hernandez has no prior criminal history, Pascucci said. He and Gomez-Cazares face 15 to 60 years in prison because they are accused of possessing more than 900 grams of meth, she said.

Defense attorney Dino Katris represented Hernandez-Hernandez. He said he did not know where his client was when Booras asked.

But Hernandez-Hernandez apparently was transported to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement on Nov. 9, according to Lake County Jail records.

He posted bond and was released from ICE custody prior to his Thursday court date, according to his attorney Luis Albarran. Albarran could not make it to court Thursday morning, so Katris stepped up on his behalf.

Co-defendant Gomez-Cazares appeared in court for his arraignment. He is represented by Doug Zeit.

Gomez-Cazares pleaded not guilty to the charges. When asked by Booras, Gomez-Cazares said he is a permanent U.S. resident, but not a citizen. He said he was born in Mexico.

A trial date of Feb. 1 was scheduled. Gomez-Cazares is due back in court Jan. 23 for a pretrial date. He posted 10 percent of his $50,000 on Nov. 9, according to jail records.

Gomez-Cazares and Hernandez-Hernandez were arrested in Waukegan near the 2400 block of Grand Avenue, Pascucci said.

Waukegan police said a Mexican drug cartel has been trying to establish a crystal meth market in Waukegan for the past several months. Waukegan Gang Intelligence Unit officers worked with Drug Enforcement Administration and ICE to thwart the crystal meth cartel, police said.

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