Man sentenced to 8 years in cannabis case
URBANA — An Urbana man who had several pounds of cannabis intended for sale has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Mark A. Cruz, 53, whose last known local address was in the 1400 block of Cottage Grove Avenue, pleaded guilty Tuesday before Judge Tom Difanis to possession with intent to deliver between 2,000 and 5,000 grams of cannabis.
In return for his plea, other counts alleging that he illegally possessed guns were dismissed.
The charges stemmed from Cruz's arrest last summer. In late July, a man subleasing a home from Cruz in the 1000 block of South Cottage Grove called police after finding four loaded rifles, a loaded handgun and ammunition in the detached garage of Cruz's home. The guns were discovered to have been stolen in a car theft Sept. 21 in Urbana.
After learning about the stolen guns, Urbana police watched the house where Cruz was living in the 1400 block of South Cottage Grove. When he left there on July 30, police stopped the truck and found, in the covered bed, about four pounds of cannabis, packaging materials and $29,000 cash. Inside his home they found another $2,500 cash and an additional 1 1/2 pounds of cannabis.
Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar said it appeared that Cruz was letting someone else store the guns in his garage and that he never had any direct contact with them.
Lozar said Cruz had prior convictions for driving under the influence, driving under revocation and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.
In September, Charles Christakis, 53, who was living with Cruz, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver 2.5 to 10 grams of cannabis, and was sentenced to 18 months of conditional discharge. Christakis was found to be involved in helping Cruz move the cannabis on the day of Cruz's arrest.