Police seize 21 pounds of cannabis in campus apartments

URBANA — Three men  believed to be involved in the sale of a large amount of cannabis intended for the University of Illinois campus were arrested Thursday night in Champaign.

The University of Illinois police department's "targeted response unit" recovered 21 pounds of cannabis with a street value in excess of $80,000, a little more than $4,000 in cash, a small amount of cocaine, and scales, according to UI Detective Sgt. Joe McCullough.

The three men were charged with possession with intent to deliver cannabis, a Class X felony. The state's attorney's office elected not to charge a woman arrested for allegedly tipping off one of the men that police were intending to search an apartment.

"This was an investigation into a multistate cannabis trafficking case," McCullough said.

Detectives have been working it for several weeks and obtained search warrants, which they served Thursday night, for a campus high-rise apartment complex at 309 E. Green St.

"We started out executing two search warrants ... and were later led to a third apartment in the same building," McCullough said.

McCullough said there was contraband or cash in all three apartments, but the majority of the cannabis was found in a closet in one apartment.

"We recovered it in three large bags. Inside the large bags, there were 14 individual bags containing cannabis," said McCullough, calling the find "one of the larger amounts of cannabis in the campus area."

"It was to be broken down and sold in the Campustown area," McCullough said.

Arrested on the cannabis charges were Steven Funes, 20, of Vina, Calif.; and Tristan Cowart, 28, and Matthew Divittorio, 19, who listed their addresses as different apartments at 309 E. Green St.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said she elected not to pursue charges against a complex employee who allegedly told one of the suspects about the search because "it would be difficult to prove without cooperation from one of the other (charged) defendants."

McCullough said the woman's actions, however, caused police to have to execute an additional search warrant when they found out the cannabis had been moved. McCullough said.

McCullough said the department's targeted response unit is a combination of street crimes and narcotics agents who team up to work on bigger criminal cases on campus.

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Jen R wrote on February 07, 2014 at 11:02 am

Does "targeted response unit" mean they sent the SWAT team after some weed?

cwdog57 wrote on February 07, 2014 at 11:02 am

get it while the gettins' good.

AerieDweller wrote on February 07, 2014 at 4:02 pm

No. The unit focuses on ("targets") specific problems, such as strong-armed robberies, drug sales, etc.

This doesn't mean they DON'T use the METRO team (a consolidated "swat"team) to serve warrants, it just means they work particular cases instead of being assigned to uniformed patrol.

Jen R wrote on February 07, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Good to know, thanks!