DuPage County State’s Attorney
May 30, 2021
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, Wood Dale Chief of Police Greg Vesta and Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly announced today that bond has been set for a Des Plaines man accused of multiple weapons and drug charges following a high-speed pursuit last Thursday night. Nicholas Valentino, 33 (d.o.b. 11/17/1987) of the 8000 block of N. Western Avenue, appeared at a bond hearing this morning where Judge James Orel set bond at $5 million full cash. Judge Orel also granted the State’s motion for a proof-of-funds hearing for Valentino which will require Valentino to prove that any funds used to post bond was not gotten from illegal means, should he make bond. Valentino has been charged with one count of Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with Intent to Deliver (Class X Felony), one count of Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Class X Felony), two counts of Armed Violence (Class X Felony) two counts of Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm (Class 1 Felony) and Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon (Class 4 Felony).
During the evening of May 27, 2021, Officers with the DuPage County Metropolitan Enforcement Group (DuMeg) were conducting surveillance at a warehouse suspected in drug activity in Wood Dale. While conducting surveillance agents observed a van and a Volkswagen leave the warehouse. It is alleged that Valentino was driving the Volkswagen. Agents continued surveillance on the vehicles into the city of Chicago before terminating surveillance. As the agents returned from Chicago, agents again saw the van and began surveillance. Agents attempted to stop the van but it did not stop. Agents continued to follow the van. While on a residential street in Wood Dale, the van flashed its headlights and then came to an abrupt stop at which time agents observed an individual, later identified as Valentino, on the street allegedly pointing a gun at them. It is alleged that Valentino fired two shots at the agents’ car. The agents reversed their car and were not hit by the gunfire. It is alleged that after firing at the agents, Valentino entered the same Volkswagen the agents conducted surveillance on earlier and fled the scene at a high rate of speed along with the van. It is alleged that prior to the shooting, the Volkswagen had stopped to set up an ambush of the Agents. Agents began pursuit of the two vehicles through residential areas of Wood Dale and eventually onto Route 83 where the two vehicles went in separate directions. Agents followed the Volkswagen. A short time later, the Volkswagen was involved in a vehicle crash with a Bensenville squad car and an unmarked DuMeg squad car. It is alleged that Valentino was the driver and only occupant of the Volkswagen. He was taken into custody at this time. It is alleged that in the center console of the Volkswagen officers located a full magazine for an AR-15 assault rifle and two cell phones. Officers with the Wood Dale Police Department processed the scene of the shooting and recovered two discharged .223 caliber assault rifle shell casings as well as one live .223 round, the same type of ammunition allegedly recovered from the magazine in the Volkswagen driven by the Valentino. After the pursuit an AR-15 style assault rifle with no magazine and one round jammed in the chamber was found in Bensenville on a residential street allegedly along Valentino’s path of travel. The following day, a search warrant was executed at the Wood Dale warehouse where authorities allegedly found approximately forty pallets of vacuum-sealed cannabis totaling approximately 7,688 pounds, approximately 406 pounds of cannabis edibles, 6,891 THC cartridges and more than 700 grams psilocybin mushroom bars. The estimated street value of the cannabis recovered in the warehouse is approximately $22,000,000. Authorities also recovered more than $107,000, an AK-47 and 9 mm ammunition.
“The allegations against Mr. Valentino are completely outrageous,” Berlin said. “While recreational marijuana is legal in Illinois, the allegations that Mr. Valentino was in possession of such large quantities of marijuana underscores the fact that there is a thriving illegal black market that demands the attention of law enforcement. I cannot say enough about the efforts of the DuMeg agents involved in the apprehension of Mr. Valentino. With a watchful eye, they were able to pick up surveillance on a vehicle they had followed earlier that day and even after allegedly being shot at by the defendant, they continued pursuit which resulted in the apprehension of the defendant. This case is another reminder of the extreme danger officers face day in and day out as they protect the public. I commend those agents for their courage and dedication to their profession. I would like to thank the Illinois State Police as well as the Wood Dale Police and Bensenville Police Departments for their outstanding efforts that led to the apprehension of the defendant in this case. I would also like to thank Assistant State’ Attorneys Demetri Demopoulos and Matthew Dambach for their efforts the past several day in preparing a strong case against Mr. Valentino.”
“The Illinois State Police is proud of the cooperative efforts of all our partners in law enforcement as they worked this case,” ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly said. “The importance of these partnerships through DuMEG and similar units across the state, along with the exemplary work of the men and women in the ISP, cannot be overstated as they take violent drug dealers off of our streets.”
“Thankfully, the agents and residents of our community were not injured during this encounter. I commend the officers involved for their dedication to apprehend the offender despite the immediate danger to themselves,” Vesta said. “I am grateful for the tireless efforts of our officers and the success of our partnerships with other agencies and the State’s Attorney’s office to bring this case to prosecution.”
Valentino’s next court date is scheduled for June 28, 2021 for arraignment in front of Judge Ann Celine O’Hallaren Walsh.
Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendants’ guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.