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February 18, 2014 | 04:58 PMELKHORN — In the last two weeks, the Walworth County Sheriff Department’s Drug Unit arrested eight people in connection with a heroin distribution ring in the Lake Geneva and Delavan areas.
Authorities arrested Jamaal T. Shellie, 33, Waukegan, Ill., on Feb. 7, and he has been charged with seven counts of delivering heroin. Law enforcement officials have said that Shellie was the ringleader of the heroin ring. He is currently in custody in the Walworth County jail in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond.
Walworth County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Patek said the drug unit expects to make more arrests in connection with this heroin ring.
He said he believes a “significant” amount of heroin was being distributed by this group, and he suspects that the heroin was coming from the Chicago area.
Shortly after Shellie’s arrest, the drug unit, with the assistance of an undercover officer, purchased heroin from several people in the Lake Geneva and Delavan areas.
“In the following days, after Jamaal Shellie was arrested, a subject took over right away with the same people Jamaal was selling to,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s department.
A law enforcement source said that the subject who took over for Shellie was Matthew Brown, 31, Waukegan, Ill. Brown was arrested in Lake Geneva on two counts of delivering heroin. Brown is being held in custody in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond.
District Attorney Daniel Necci said he hopes that the arrests put a dent in the local heroin trade. “We are going to have to wait and see how that shakes out,” Necci said. “My gut tells me that there a whole lot of people who have to find new sources now.”
All of the suspects who were arrested in connection with the heroin ring are in custody in the Walworth County jail.
The other six people who have been arrested in connection with the heroin ring are:
n Trisha J. Mohr, 34, Lake Geneva, was arrested at a motel in Lake Geneva. She has been charged with two counts of delivering heroin, as party to a Crime. She is in custody in lieu of a $5,000 cash bond.
n Ernest F. Green, 29, Waukegan, Ill., was arrested in Lake Geneva on one count of delivery of heroin, as a party to a Crime and two counts of delivery of cocaine, as a party to a Crime. Green is in custody on a $10,000 cash bond.
n Ashley J. Keller, 27, Lake Geneva, was arrested at her home on five counts of delivery of cocaine and one count of delivery of heroin, as a party to a Crime. Keller is in custody on a $2,500 bond.
n Brian W. Zitzler, 33, Lake Geneva, was arrested at his place of work on charges of conspiracy to deliver heroin, one count of delivering heroin, as a party to a Crime and possession of a schedule III non-narcotic drug. Zitzler is in custody on a $10,000 cash bond.
n Christina Lavender, 28, Delavan, has been charged with two counts of delivering heroin. She is in custody on a $10,000 bond.
n Jacob L. Crews, 24, Lake Geneva, has been charged with one count of delivering heroin. He is in custody on a $5,000 bond.
The criminal complaint against Shellie claims that he sold heroin to a confidential police informant seven different times.
According to the criminal complaint against Shellie:
On Jan. 14, a confidential informant was given $120 to purchase heroin from a drug dealer he knew as “Major.”
“Major” was later identified as Shellie through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Administration records. On Jan. 14, the informant purchased 0.74 grams of heroin from Shellie in Lake Geneva.
On Jan. 15, the informant was given $240 to purchase heroin from Christina Lavender. Lavender, 28, Delavan was also arrested last week. She has been formally charged with two felony counts of delivering heroin.
The informant told the drug unit that during the drug sale Lavender was on the phone with Shellie. After the sale, the informant called Shellie, who said his girls were “good.”
On Jan. 16, the informant bought 2.17 grams of heroin from Shellie for $240 near Elkhorn Area High School. The informant bought $120 of heroin from Shellie on Jan. 21 and $120 of the drug on Jan. 28. Both transactions allegedly occurred in the city of Delavan.
On Feb. 4, the drug unit gave the informant $480 and the informant bought 4.22 grams of heroin from Shellie in Lake Geneva. On Feb. 7, the informant was given another $480 and bought 3.8 grams of heroin from Shellie at a hotel in Lake Geneva.
At the hotel, police arrested Jacob L. Crews, who was leaving the hotel room where Shellie was reportedly selling drugs. Crews told police that Shellie sells heroin “all day, all night, seven days a week,” at different hotels throughout the area.
In 2005, in Lake County, Ill., Shellie was convicted of manufacturing/delivering cocaine.