ORLAND PARK, Ill. — A south suburban mayor frustrated with Cook County’s cash bond system said Thursday that it allows violent felons to treat the justice system like a revolving door.
Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said three people from out of state were arrested with guns and drugs over the weekend, and they could have been walking free after paying bail amounts he called "ridiculous."
Police confirm they arrested three convicted felons from Arizona who were allegedly selling heroin and meth at the corner of 71st Court and 159th Street in Orland Park on Saturday.
According to police, 28-year-old Hector Acosta-Feliz was found behind the wheel of a pickup truck with crystal meth in his hand. In the passenger side was 45-year-old Taurence Lopez, who allegedly left a loaded 9 millimeter hand gun on the floorboard after getting out of the truck. And police say 26-year-old Johnnie Lee hopped out of the backseat, where investigators found a loaded 40-caliber gun.
Police say they found small amounts of heroin on all three men, and a search of the car found a third loaded gun and plastic-wrapped heroin. All three were arrested and charged, then taken to Cook County criminal court house, where Pekau says they were given cash bail of $2,500, $1,500 and $300.
"It makes absolutely zero sense. I don’t think there’s one person in the area who thinks it makes sense to let convicted felons with heroin and meth with guns back out on our streets,” Pekau said. "There’s a lot of terms you could use: ludicrous, stupid, insane. "
He’s calling on Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to fix what he calls a broken system.
“I think the states attorney needs to clean up their office and start focusing on crime like that said they would. Get criminals off the streets,” Pekau said. “They pay lip service to violent crime, they politicize gun violence, yet we don’t enforce basic gun laws that are on the books. Convicted felon, has guns, and we let him back out on the street."
The state’s attorney's office says it requested a bail review and worked with Orland Park police to obtain warrants that led to another search — during which police say they found more drugs — and now all three suspects are being held without bond.
However, the mayor says when it takes a second case to hold convicted felons on serious drugs and weapons charges, the system is broken.
“We see it all the time where people are let out on low bond or no bond, they’re let out on i-bond, electronic monitoring and they turn around and commit another crime. The people of Cook County, the people of Illinois deserve better,” Pekau said.
In a written statement, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said:
“Prosecutors asked for a bail review that was granted by the court. All three defendants were ordered held without bail, and they remain in custody today. We were pleased to assist our law enforcement partners at the Orland Park Police Department secure multiple search warrants for this case as part of our commitment to public safety and justice.”