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RITA Corp. owner says company not tied to drugs

CRYSTAL LAKE – The owner of a Crystal Lake company named in an affidavit accusing the McHenry County undersheriff of official misconduct says his business is a victim – not a participant.

On Tuesday, McHenry County sheriff’s Sgt. John Koziol filed court documents alleging that Undersheriff Andrew Zinke tipped off his close friend and campaign contributor Brian Goode about a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into the transportation of thousands of pounds of marijuana.

Goode’s business, RITA Corp., is listed as the address for Zinke’s political campaign committee and also has contributed to campaigns for Sheriff Keith Nygren. Goode also is a member of the sheriff’s merit commission.

In the court filing, Koziol said DEA agents intercepted a truck in Corpus Christi, Texas, that had been carrying 4,000 pounds of marijuana and was destined for RITA Corp.

“To set the record straight, the truck in question belonged to a common carrier who was transporting a load of cosmetic raw materials purchased by RITA Corporation from a supplier in Mexico,” Goode said in a statement on the company’s website. “The truck did not belong to RITA Corporation and the driver was not an employee of RITA Corporation.”

Goode said the marijuana apparently was placed on the truck by third parties attempting to smuggle it into the United States.

He said neither he nor RITA Corp. had any knowledge of and was not involved in the marijuana being on the same truck as the materials being shipped to RITA Corp.

Copies of all documents regarding the purchase and shipment of the cosmetic raw material from Mexico were turned over to the sheriff’s office in July, Goode said.

Koziol said Zinke interfered with the DEA investigation by telling Goode about it. Koziol alleges that Zinke committed official misconduct and is asking for a special prosecutor to investigate him.

Zinke, however, has said Koziol is a disgruntled employee who recently was transferred out of the sheriff’s narcotics unit to patrol. Also, Koziol’s attorney has connections to Jim Harrison, one of Zinke’s opponents in the 2014 sheriff’s race.

Koziol’s request for a special prosecutor will go before Judge Thomas A. Meyer on Nov. 2.

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