Crime & Courts

McHenry County prosecutors ask court to seize more assets from Bull Valley couple accused of drug trafficking

WOODSTOCK – Prosecutors have added cash, 18 TVs and a number of vehicles, including a fire truck, to the items they want to seize from a Bull Valley couple charged with drug trafficking.

Authorities already have moved to seize the $800,000 mansion of David A. Soskin and Jamie M. Lee, which they allege was bought with drug money after authorities found about 350 pounds of marijuana inside. But three motions filed in court last week add to the list.

Besides the 17,000-square-foot home, authorities now also seek to seize the TVs, a 2016 Heartland travel trailer, a 1988 Ford LS9000 fire truck, a minivan, another trailer, four ATVs and a soundboard. Another motion seeks to seize $42,990 in cash belonging to both defendants and $612 in cash belonging to Lee.

A Thursday morning hearing is scheduled on all the requests for asset forfeiture before McHenry County Judge Michael Feeterer. The hearing will determine whether prosecutors have probable cause to move forward with seizing the property, Assistant State’s Attorney John Gibbons said.

Soskin, 42, and Lee, his 26-year-old fiancée, remain in McHenry County Jail on $1 million and $250,000 bond, respectively. However, court orders are in place that will prevent either of them from being freed on bond – they must post 10 percent of it – until the source of the money is determined to be legitimate. Funds tied to illegal activities cannot be used to post bond.

Sheriff’s deputies searching the home in the 1000 block of Cherry Valley Road found the marijuana, with an estimated street value of about
$3.2 million, locked in a closet in the master bedroom. Police allege that the couple bought the six-bedroom, 11-bathroom home with indoor pool last December with $800,000 in drug money.

Both face charges of marijuana trafficking, possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

The arrests are part of an ongoing drug investigation involving the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the McHenry County Narcotics Task Force, the Rockford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

Rockford police and DEA agents first arrested Joseph Vogrinc, 34, of Loves Park after a traffic stop May 18 in Loves Park. Police found more than 11 pounds of marijuana and $55,000 in cash. Police got a warrant and searched the 30-acre Bull Valley property the following day.

Police also found a .50-caliber machine gun, a Cobray M11 machine pistol with a suppressor, a shotgun and several boxes of ammunition at the mansion, records show. It is illegal in Illinois to own an automatic weapon, even if it is legally registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It also is illegal in Illinois to own a suppressor to diminish the noise of firearms.

Weapons charges have not yet been filed – the firearms currently are being examined by state and federal officials, Gibbons said. But if weapons charges do end up being filed, it will not be the first time that Soskin has faced them.

Soskin was sentenced in 1998 to 20 months in federal prison for illegally possessing and selling stolen firearms. He pleaded guilty to stealing about 150 firearms from a Bensenville gun store owned by his father – one of the guns recovered by the ATF was tied to a death in Chicago, and several others were connected to robberies.

Attorneys for both Soskin and Lee have filed motions with the court to get their bonds reduced.

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