Heroin bust in Mercer County

Staff reports

A Rock Island man was arrested early Monday, Oct. 5, just outside Preemption after a controlled drug buy took place in the parking lot in Preemption. Joseph M. Stone, 31, of Rock Island, had his first appearance in Mercer County Court in front of Judge James G.Conway, Jr. Monday afternoon Oct. 5 with the judge finding enough evidence to continue holding the defendant. Stone was issued a preliminary public defender, Clarence Darrow.

The controlled buy was set up with the help of a confidential source and involved a number of Mercer County deputies.

The deputies purchased a half gram of heroin. Stone was charged with a Class 3 felony of sale of .5 grams of heroin and a Class A misdemeanor, endangering a child, as there was a six-year-old child in his car during the drug buy.

If convicted, a class 3 felony could involve from two to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, which is extendable to from five to 10 years, according to the probation department, followed by a mandatory one-year court supervision sentence. Other possible repercussions include up to two and a half years probation, a fine of up to $150,000 plus court costs.  A $40,,000 bond (10 percent applicable) was set, with the defendant informed that he was also subject to random drug testing at the request of any peace officer at his own expense, if he posts bond and is released.

The judge set a preliminary hearing date of Oct. 20, at 11:30 a.m., where the defendant will be able to plead either guilty or not guilty.

Assistant State's Attorney Meeghan Lee told the court that a joint search warrant with Rock Island County was issued to search the defendant's Rock Island home. She was unsure of the results at the initial appearance.