Crime & Courts

Judge denies lower bond for Bull Valley woman accused of marijuana trafficking

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County judge denied a lower bond for a Bull Valley woman facing drug-trafficking charges after prosecutors claimed she tried to hide and conceal assets days after her fiancé was arrested, while her defense attorney downplayed her involvement in the operation.

Jamie M. Lee, 26, appeared with her attorney, Dan Hofmann, for a bond hearing. Lee and her fiancé, David A. Soskin, face charges of marijuana trafficking, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana. Both face a minimum of 12 years in prison, if convicted. Lee is being held in jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.

The two were arrested after the conclusion of a months-long investigation that picked up speed with the arrest of a Loves Park man May 18 and the discovery of piles of marijuana the next day in the Bull Valley home they bought for $800,000 in December 2016.

Hofmann asked that Lee’s bond be reduced to $50,000. He said he believed his client’s involvement in what authorities called a sophisticated drug operation was not as significant as Soskin’s and she was willing to cooperate with authorities.

“Jamie’s participation was minimal, but her cooperation was significant,” Hofmann told McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather.

He said Lee has never been charged with a violent offense and he did not believe she was a danger to the community.

Lee said that if she posted bond, she would stay with her mother, Martha Tritthardt-Lee, and her 5-year-old son at her mother’s home in Wood Dale. She said she graduated high school and completed one-and-a-half years of college.

Lee’s mother, who was in court, testified that she only was able to come up with $5,000 to post bond. Tritthardt-Lee said she has worked at FedEx for the last two decades and currently makes about $23 a hour.

Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese objected to any reduction in bond. Freese said Lee admitted to authorities that she would help Soskin keep track of the marijuana.

“She made great admissions regarding her knowledge and involvement,” Freese said.

She also said once Soskin was arrested, Lee began hiding, concealing and dissipating their assets.

Judge Prather said while Lee had no past criminal history, she denied the request for a bond reduction because of the seriousness of the charges.

Sheriff’s deputies searched the couple’s Bull Valley home May 19 and found about 350 pounds of marijuana in a locked closet in the master bedroom, according to court documents. The street value of the marijuana was estimated at nearly $3.2 million. Police also found a .50-caliber machine gun, a Cobray M11 machine pistol with a suppressor, a shotgun and several boxes of ammunition, records show.

Lee next will appear in court June 19. If she is able to come up with the money to post bond, she would have to prove the funds came from a legitimate source, according to a court order. Funds tied to drug trafficking or other criminal or illegal sources cannot be used to post bond.

Prosecutors also have moved to seize the $800,000 mansion, cash, 18 TVs and a number of vehicles, including a fire truck. McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer previously found there was probable cause to move forward with seizing the property.

An additional motion was filed June 1 to seize more than $35,000 found in Bank of America, McHenry Savings Bank and Wells Fargo accounts. A hearing is scheduled for June 9.

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