CRYSTAL LAKE – A Crystal Lake man is facing felony drug charges after McHenry County Sheriff's deputies seized about 7.6 pounds of heroin worth $692,400 from his apartment in what likely is the largest bust of its kind in county history.
Roman Castro, 47, of the 600 block of Virginia Road, was arrested Tuesday by members of the McHenry County Sheriff's Police Narcotics Task Force and charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class X felony, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a Class 1 felony.
Detectives had received information that Castro was holding a large amount of heroin. Authorities said the gray-white substance was inside a black backpack in Castro's apartment. They also recovered two scales and packaging materials. No money was taken from Castro's residence, authorities said.
If convicted, Castro faces at least 15 and up to 60 years in prison on the Class X felony charge. He would be required to serve 75 percent of his sentence, according to state law.
Castro appeared in rights court Wednesday morning where his bond was set at $2 million. A judge appointed a public defender to represent Castro because he couldn't afford to hire a private attorney, according to court records.
A judge also granted a motion from prosecutors stating no one would be allowed to post bond for Castro before a hearing was held to determine where the money came from. Funds tied to drug trafficking or some other criminal or illegal source cannot be used to post bond.
Castro has lived in Crystal Lake for the past five years. He earns $500 a week at a plumbing company in Lake County and owns a 2006 Honda Odyssey, according to court documents.
He is set to appear before Judge Sharon Prather on Tuesday.
"Everyone in law enforcement agencies agrees that heroin and heroin derivatives have become a plague in our communities," McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim said.
Don Carlson, McHenry County Sheriff's deputy chief of operations, said it's difficult to determine the purity of the drug without sending samples for testing. Heroin often is mixed with other things and there is more than one type, which makes it difficult to determine what's in the drug right away, he said.
Carlson said while heroin use is prevalent in the community, large arrests such as this one are not the norm.
"Heroin is an extremely addictive drug and difficult to get away from," he said. "It's imperative that people seek help or pay attention to family members who are known to have an addiction to opiates."
It's not clear if the heroin was meant for local distribution or bound for another market. Carlson said he couldn't disclose that information.
Castro's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Rick Behof, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Crystal Lake Deputy Chief Derek Hyrkas said the department was aware of the bust, but was not involved and therefore declined to comment on the matter.
McHenry County Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Muraski previously told the Northwest Herald that a July 2016 bust – where police recovered about 180 grams of heroin worth $36,000 from a McHenry residence – was the largest amount of heroin seized at one time by the department alone. In addition to the drugs, deputies recovered two scales, packaging materials and $963 from Brian Freund's home. While out on bond, Freund was accused of selling heroin again. He remains in McHenry County Jail custody and faces up to 40 years in prison on the most serious charge against him.