Judge denies man’s request to be released on drug, weapons charges following search in Rochelle

Darnell A. Wilson

OREGON – An Ogle County judge denied a Rochelle man’s request Thursday to be released from custody as he faces nine counts of drug and weapons charges.

Darnell A. Wilson, 37, is charged with three counts of possessing cocaine with the intent to deliver in a drug-free zone, one count of possessing fentanyl with the intent to deliver, and one count of possessing MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. He is also charged with three counts of possessing firearms without a Firearm Owner’s Identification card (FOID) and one count of possessing ammunition without a FOID card.

According to court documents, the alleged offenses occurred on or about April 9.

The drug-free zone cited in two of the counts is Connolly Park, a public park in Rochelle. Those charges say Wilson was within 1,000 feet of the park when he possessed between 1-15 grams of cocaine and fentanyl.

The firearm charges accuse Wilson of possessing a Glock 43 handgun, a Glock 27 handgun, a Ruger 57 handgun, and ammunition when he is not eligible to have a FOID card due to a juvenile adjudication in 2002.

Wilson appeared in court Thursday with his attorney for a pretrial detention hearing during which a judge determines whether to release a defendant from custody as the case proceeds through the court system.

Criteria used by judges to make that decision include the nature of the alleged offenses and whether the defendant’s release would be a “clear and present danger” to the community or individuals and whether the defendant is considered to be a “flight risk” and likely not appear again for scheduled court cases.

Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew Leisten told Judge John “Ben” Roe that Wilson was charged following a search of his home. In addition to the drugs and guns, Leisten said $3,830 in cash was seized.

Leisten said Wilson was being investigated for illegal guns and selling cocaine. He also said Wilson told officers that everything in the home was his. He argued that Wilson should be detained.

But Wilson’s attorney argued that the guns belonged to Wilson’s wife, who legally has a FOID card. He also said four people lived with Wilson at the time of the search – including Wilson’s 19-year-old son Darzel, who has also been charged with possession of MDMA (ectasy) and unlawful possession of a handgun without a FOID card. That handgun is listed as a 9mm, according to court documents.

The defense attorney also argued that his client, Darnell, does not have a history of violence and no felony criminal background. He suggested his client be released from custody.

“If the state is taking the position that possession is a crime of violence then everybody is dangerous when they have drugs on them,” Wilson’s attorney said.

Roe said Wilson’s arrest, and subsequent search of his home, was all part of an investigation by police that they say involved the delivery of certain drugs that had been linked to the defendant.

“The firearms found and the drugs are a danger to the community,” Roe said in denying Wilson’s request to be released. “When you consider all that, there is a clear and present risk. No conditions can mitigate that, unless further information comes forth.”

Roe set Wilson’s next court appearance for 10 a.m. April 24.

Two of the drug charges are Class X felonies, which carry a maximum sentence of 6-30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.