A Kane County judge ruled Thursday that a sheriff's deputy illegally prolonged a November 2015 traffic stop of three Minnesota residents on Interstate 90 and, therefore, nearly a pound of uncut heroin, two guns and nearly $8,000 seized cannot be used as evidence.
In his decision, Judge D.J. Tegeler said Sgt. Ron Hain prolonged the traffic stop -- in violation of a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling -- when Hain issued Jessica Johnson, 29, of Redby, a warning for following a truck too closely on I-90 near Huntley on Nov. 11 but then questioned her passengers about whether the vehicle had insurance.
Hain had verified Johnson was licensed in Minnesota and her car was registered there. Vehicles registered in other states are not subject to Illinois' mandatory insurance laws.
"When (Hain) went back to the car the second time to check on the insurance, he was acting improperly under the Constitution and he illegally prolonged the traffic stop," Tegeler said.
Johnson, Leo Cook, 32, also of Redby, and Derek Paddy, 20, of Red Lake, have been held at the Kane County jail on charges of drug trafficking and armed violence. They are next due in court on June 1.
The decision marks the third time in recent months that a judge threw out evidence from one of Hain's arrests.
Judge John Barsanti ruled that a Minnesota man was illegally strip-searched after an April 2015 traffic stop along I-90 and that the methamphetamine seized was banned from court. Charges against Ismael Jaimes-Meza were dropped.
Barsanti also ruled last month that a traffic stop of William Floyd Marsh, a retired Oregon sheriff deputy, in February 2014 was illegally prolonged and that pounds of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana later seized from storage lockers were banned as evidence.
Prosecutors dismissed the drug charges against Marsh on Wednesday, but he is awaiting extradition to Clackamas County, Oregeon, where he faces felony burglary, theft, and kidnapping charges from October 2011.
Johnson, Cook and Paddy's attorneys also argued a drug-sniffing dog didn't signal, but Tegeler did not address that issue because he the stop was ruled illegal.
"Over the past several months, courts in Kane County have consistently found (Hain) has violated motorists' Fourth Amendment rights," said defense attorney Kathleen Colton, who represented Johnson. "The only way to stop violations is for courts to grant motions such as this."