Crime & Courts

Prosecutors dismiss Woodstock man's charges for 17 pounds of marijuana

Philip M. Williams
Philip M. Williams

WOODSTOCK – A Woodstock man who faced significant drug charges after police said they found 17 pounds of marijuana in a duffel bag in the trunk of his car is seeking to have his record expunged after charges were dismissed just months later by the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office.

Phillip M. Williams, 31, was arrested Aug. 28 and indicted on charges of unlawful possession with intent to deliver cannabis, a Class X felony, and unlawful possession of cannabis, a Class 1 felony. He posted 10 percent of his $300,000 bond days later and was released from McHenry County Jail custody.

The most serious charge carried a prison term of at least six and up to 30 years in prison.

All charges, including traffic violations for driving without valid registration and driving without proof of insurance, were dismissed by the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office on Oct. 20, according to court documents.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Combs declined to comment on the dismissed charges Monday afternoon.

Woodstock police officer Eric Schmidtke stopped Williams at Route 14 and Dean Street on the evening of Aug. 28 because the car's registration was expired. Schmidtke said that while he was speaking with Williams, he "detected a hint of cannabis emitting from inside the motor vehicle" and called for a K-9 unit, according to police reports.

Officer Sharon Freund and her K-9 responded and requested to search Williams' car. He denied consent and said he would not exit the vehicle, according to police reports. Freund conducted an external "sniff" of the exterior of the vehicle, and the K-9 detected the odor of potential illegal drugs at the gas tank door and the trunk.

Officers located a large duffel bag in the trunk that contained 15 individually packaged, vacuum-sealed bags containing what was later determined to be more than 17 pounds of marijuana, according to police reports.

Williams previously had been arrested by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office in March 2014 for manufacturing/delivery of 30 grams to 500 grams of cannabis, according to court documents.

Williams' vehicle was seized by the Woodstock Police Department and later returned after the charged were dismissed, court records indicate. Williams will appear before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather with his attorney, Mark Facchini, on Jan. 4, 2017, on a petition to expunge his arrest record.

The Woodstock City Council recognized Schmidtke and Freund on Oct. 4 for their "exceptional work."

"Thanks to the aggressive stance on the Illinois vehicle statute violations and astute observations by Officer Schmidtke and the drug search capabilities by the Woodstock K-9 Unit, namely Officer Freund and Blue, another drug mule/dealer was arrested," Mayor Brian Sager said at the meeting, according to the City Council minutes.

Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said the department is aware that the charges were dismissed, and he said police are waiting to learn more before commenting directly on the situation.

"We as a police department have to take a step back, look at all the parts and pieces as to why we have this anomaly, … why the case was dismissed," Lieb said Monday.

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