URBANA — A Seymour man who admitted to a jury he was a drug dealer but objected to how his arrest came about has been convicted of having cocaine for sale.
Christopher C. Bradley, 53, chose to represent himself on felony charges alleging that on Oct. 30, 2019, he had more than 2 ounces of cocaine with the intent to deliver it.
The jury took 10 minutes to find him guilty. Judge Randy Rosenbaum set sentencing for June 16.
Bradley, who has two convictions for possession of a controlled substance, faces a mandatory prison term of six to 30 years.
“My conflict is not with the evidence you’ve seen. It’s the evidence you haven’t,” Bradley said in closing arguments Friday.
Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force officers Matt Quinley and Jim Kerner testified that they stopped Bradley after getting information from their supervisor, who had gotten a tip that Bradley would be in east Urbana with a large amount of cocaine that day.
After leaving the Champaign police station, Kerner said he ran a check on Bradley as he and Quinley made their way to a gas station on East University Avenue. Kerner learned that Bradley’s driver’s license had been expired for 17 months. When they saw him get in his truck and leave the station, they pulled him over.
Quinley said they called for a drug-sniffing dog from the sheriff’s office, and when Bradley saw the deputy and dog approach, he “reached into the console and removed a bag of cannabis and a one-hitter box” and held it out the window.
The combination of his lack of a valid license and the cannabis gave the officers probable cause to search his truck.
Inside, Quinley said he found a scale, straws with cocaine residue, two grinders — one for cannabis and a second with cocaine residue on it — nine sandwich bags and about 66 grams of cocaine in two plastic bags that were inside a sunglasses case.
When Bradley asked Quinley on cross-examination if the officers stopped him because of a tip from an informant, Rosenbaum sent the jury out.
He reminded Bradley that the information the jury could hear had been decided in a pretrial hearing and the source of the tip was not relevant.
“They had the right to stop you because you didn’t have a license,” he said. “You are not allowed to talk about a confidential source or the pretext for the stop. If you mention the confidential source again or the constitutionality of the stop, I am going to hold you in contempt, and you run the risk of going to jail for it.”
Assistant State’s Attorney Chris McCallum then had Kerner testify about Bradley’s confession.
In a videotaped statement, Bradley said he has used cocaine for about 35 years and for about 20 of those years, he has been selling it to anywhere from six to 12 people.
Bradley told Kerner that he’s a “moral drug dealer” who sells to working folks “who don’t have any drama in their life.”
He explained that a supplier, whom he declined to name, routinely fronted him 2 ounces of cocaine for $3,000, which Bradley said he would sell for about $4,000. When the drugs were sold, which he said typically took a week to 10 days, he would pay his supplier and use the $1,000 to pay his bills, then repeat the cycle.
In closing arguments to the jury, McCallum said Bradley had made their job fairly simple.
“He told you it was his cocaine. He told you he was a drug dealer for 20 years and that he sells to six to 12 people. He told you he had the intent to deliver it,” he said. “Sometimes, the simplest thing is right in front of you.”
“He’s pulled over. He hands over the cannabis. They (police) search his truck and … he had the things they said he had,” he said.
Bradley argued that police and McCallum were correct about what was found in his truck but maintained that the jury didn’t hear all the evidence against him.
“It’s not the issue of whether they caught me. It’s how they caught me,” he argued.
“My accuser did not testify. That is reasonable doubt,” he said, adding police had not seen him engaged in selling drugs.
But McCallum shot back that the tipster was not his accuser.
“The people of the state of Illinois are the accuser,” he said, arguing that Bradley should have had a valid license and should not have had 2 ounces of cocaine he intended to sell.
Rosenbaum allowed Bradley to remain free on bond until his sentencing hearing.