Bond at $500,000 in drug case

URBANA — A Champaign man who police say has been selling cocaine in Champaign and Urbana for several months is being held in the county jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.

Assistant State's Attorney Dan Clifton said several area police agencies have been investigating Stephen M. Wells, 34, who listed an address in the 800 block of Maple Street, since the summer.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was arrested in Champaign after running from police who were trying to arrest him on a warrant that had been issued Dec. 18.

Illinois State Trooper Tracy Lillard said Champaign police officers recognized Wells and did a traffic stop on him near Bradley and Willis avenues about 4:30 p.m.

Wells was ordered to get out of his van, which he did, but subsequently disobeyed police orders and took off running, she said.

Lillard said police chased him through several yards before catching him south and east of where the traffic stop was.

On Thursday, Wells was arraigned on five felony drug counts alleging sales of cocaine on five occasions since July 31, some of which occurred near schools, parks and churches. If convicted of those counts, he faces mandatory prison sentences of six to 30 years.

He was also charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine. Clifton said Wells allegedly threw down three bags of suspected cocaine containing about 16 grams, worth $1,600, as he ran from police Wednesday.

When caught, he told the officers that if he were released he would flee rather than face charges, Clifton said.

Judge Richard Klaus granted a motion by Clifton to make Wells prove, if he can post bond, that any bond money comes from legitimate sources. Clifton said besides the 16 grams of cocaine Wells allegedly threw down, police found $8,000 cash in a search of his home.

Klaus appointed the public defender's office to represent Wells and ordered him to be back in court March 5.

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