Crime & Courts

Harvard man takes plea deal, gets probation on 2016 marijuana-dealing charge

First-time offender has other marijuana charges dismissed

Benito Mendoza, 21, of the 800 block of Casey Lane, Harvard
Benito Mendoza, 21, of the 800 block of Casey Lane, Harvard

A 21-year-old man could have a marijuana conviction vacated from his record if he successfully completes two years of probation.

Benito Mendoza, of the 800 block of Casey Lane, Harvard, pleaded guilty Tuesday to manufacturing and delivering 10 to 30 grams of marijuana.

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather ordered Mendoza to serve two years of probation, which is reserved for first-time offenders. If Mendoza follows the conditions of his probation, the drug conviction will be cleared from his record. He also must perform 30 hours of community service.

At the time of his plea Tuesday, Mendoza faced charges in two drug-related cases from 2016.

The first case, which was dismissed as a result of the deal, accused Mendoza of having between 30 and 500 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver.

A criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court stated that police also found drug paraphernalia and brass knuckles on the man.

Ultimately, Mendoza was sentenced on a felony offense that stemmed from his July 22, 2016, arrest.

About the time of his arrest, Illinois became the 21st state to pass a law decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. It was not clear how much marijuana Mendoza had on him, although it’s alleged to have been more than 10 but fewer than 30 grams, according to a criminal complaint.

Additional charges, including possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, were dismissed. Mendoza previously pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft charges from 2015 in an unrelated case.

Representatives from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment about Mendoza’s arrest or sentencing.

His probation is expected to end April 17, 2020.

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