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.

DuPage County State’s Attorney


by James R. Scott, The Chicago Times

June 1, 2021

NORTH AURORA, IL — Tuesday evening, two men were shot in the parking lot of a North Aurora grocery store.  According to North Aurora Police, officers discovered the two victims with gunshot wounds in the parking lot of Woodman’s Market at 151 Hansen Blvd around 6:30 p.m.  According to police, one male was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.  The other was taken in good condition as well.

North Aurora Police believe the victims were targeted by the gunman.  The suspects is being sought by police in North Aurora and surrounding area.


by The Chicago Times Staff

May 31, 2021

CHICAGO — Arthur Muir, 75, was safely returned from Mount Everest on Sunday, where climbing teams had battled bad weather and a coronavirus outbreak.  Muir climbed the peak earlier this month, breaking the 67-year-old record set by another American, Bill Burke.

Muir’s ankle was injured in a climbing accident on Everest in 2019, but that didn’t stop him from attempting to scale the peak again.  He started mountaineering later in life and admitted to being scared and anxious during his most recent expedition.

“You realize how big a mountain it is, how dangerous it is, how many things that could go wrong. Yeah, it makes you nervous, it makes you know some anxiety there and maybe little bit of scared . . . I was just surprised when I actually got to there (the summit) but I was too tired to stand up, and in my summit pictures I am sitting down,” Muir told reporters in Kathmandu.

At the age of 68, Muir began mountaineering with trips to South America and Alaska before attempting Everest in 2019 and falling off the ladder.

Tsang Yin-hung, 45, of Hong Kong, became the fastest female climber when she reached the summit from base camp in 25 hours and 50 minutes.  Lakpa Gelu, a Sherpa guide, holds the record with a time of 10 hours and 56 minutes.


by J. J. Quincannon, The Chicago Times

May 31, 2021

MAYWOOD, IL — After allegedly shooting and killing a customer who refused to pay, the owner of a suburban barbershop was ordered held in lieu of $250,000 bail on Sunday.

According to Cook County prosecutors and Maywood police, Deshon Mcadory, 40, of Lombard, was charged with first-degree murder in last Thursday’s shooting at the Studio 914 barbershop, 914 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood.

Christian McDougald, 31, refused to pay for a haircut that day and began arguing with the barbers, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Meehan.  Except for McDougald and Mcadory, everyone left after the argument moved outside.

When McDougald followed the shop owner to the back door, Mcadory allegedly shot him once in the chest, according to Meehan.  McDougald was discovered by responding officers and taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

According to Meehan, the shooting was caught on surveillance video, and a witness identified Mcadory as the shooter.  A gun linked to the shooting was discovered in a coat thought to be Mcadory’s, and ammunition matching the shell casing discovered at the scene was discovered in his car.

Three additional firearms were discovered at the workstation of Mcadory’s business partner, 43-year-old Samuel Williams.  Williams, a Bellwood resident with four prior felony convictions, was charged with felonious use of a weapon.  His bail was set at $25,000 after he appeared in court alongside Mcadory on Sunday.

Mcadory’s attorney, Anthony Burch, insisted that his client was acting in self-defense, pointing out that he has a Firearm Owners Identification card as well as a concealed carry permit.  Mcadory, according to Burch, was “retreating” back into the barbershop when he shot McDougald, whom he referred to as the “aggressor.”

Burch described his client as a lifelong Cook County resident who employs eight independent contractors and pays for the college education of two sons.  Mcadory has two prior convictions, including a felony for cannabis possession in 2004.

Mcadory and Williams are scheduled to appear in court again on Wednesday.


Consolidated Press News File

May 29, 2021

CHICAGO — A white reporter for a conservative news organization is suing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, alleging that she discriminated against him because of his race when she granted interviews to only journalists of color around the midpoint of her first term.

In the case, Thomas Catenacci and his employer, the Daily Caller News Foundation, claim that Lightfoot violated their First Amendment rights and Catenacci’s right to equal protection by refusing to reply to an interview request on her second anniversary in office and subsequent days.  The nonprofit Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in federal court in Chicago on Thursday.

Lightfoot, Chicago’s first Black female and lesbian mayor, said on May 19 that she would only give interviews to journalists of color on the second anniversary of her inauguration on May 20.  She claimed it was done to highlight the fact that the City Hall press corps is “overwhelmingly white” and male in a city where white people make up just around one-third of the population.

At a May 20 ceremony commemorating the occasion, Lightfoot reaffirmed her view while also urging media businesses to diversify their workforces.

“The fact that the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly white, has very little in the way of diversity, is an embarrassment,” Lightfoot said. “One day out of 365, I say that I’m going to mark the anniversary of my two years in office by giving exclusive one-on-ones to journalists of color, and the world loses its mind.”

According to Catenacci’s lawsuit, he requested a one-on-one interview with Lightfoot by email on May 20, 21, and 24.  According to the lawsuit, he had not gotten a response from her office as of Thursday’s filing.

“On information and belief, Defendant is aware that Plaintiff Catenacci is not a ‘journalist of color,’ and Defendant has denied Plaintiff’s interview request pursuant to her announcement that she will only grant interview requests from ‘journalists of color,’” the lawsuit states.

A spokesperson from Lightfoot’s regime said that the city is evaluating the complaint and that no more comment could be made because the case is still being litigated.


by James R. Scott

May 28, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS – After the pandemic delayed the sale of the first genetically engineered animal certified for human consumption in the United States, the first harvest of genetically engineered salmon occurred this week, according to AquaBounty Technologies Inc.

Several tons of mutant salmon developed by biotech business AquaBounty Technologies Inc. will now be sold at restaurants and away-from-home dining services in the Midwest and throughout the East Coast, where labeling as genetically altered is not necessary, according to company CEO Sylvia Wulf.

Samuels and Son Seafood, a Philadelphia-based seafood wholesaler, is the sole client that has announced it will sell the mutant salmon.

AquaBounty grew their mutant salmon in Albany, Indiana, in an indoor aquaculture facility.

The fish have been genetically engineered to grow twice as quickly as wild salmon, reaching market size — 8 to 12 pounds (3.6 to 5.4 kilograms) — in 18 months instead of 36.

The fish was supposed to be harvested in late 2020, according to the Massachusetts-based firm.

Wulf ascribed the delays to the pandemic’s lowered demand and market price for Atlantic salmon.

“The impact of the pandemic made us  re-examine our initial timeline … there was limited demand for salmon then,” she said. “We’re very excited about it now. We believe the timing is right and the harvest will meet the growing demand as the economy recovers.”

Although sales have commenced, the mutant fish has been greeted with opposition from environmentalists for years.

Aramark, an international food service firm, said in January that it would no longer sell mutant fish, citing environmental concerns as well as potential negative consequences for Indigenous groups who gather wild salmon.

Other significant food service firms, such as Compass Group and Sodexo, as well as numerous significant grocery merchants, seafood firms, and restaurants in the United States, made similar announcements.

Costco, Kroger, Walmart, and Whole Foods say they don’t sell mutant fish because they’d have to identify it as such.

Activists with the Block Corporate Salmon movement, which works to safeguard wild salmon and Indigenous rights to sustainable fishing, have led the boycott against AquaBounty mutant salmon.

“Genetically engineered salmon is a threat to the food system.  People need ways to connect with the food they’re eating, so they know where it’s coming from,” said Jon Russell, a member of the campaign and a food justice organizer with Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. “These salmon are so new — and there’s such a loud group of people who oppose it. That’s a huge red flag to consumers.”

AquaBounty is certain that the mutant fish will be well-received.

“We couldn’t get products into the market during the pandemic since most of the salmon in this country is imported,” Wulf added.  “A domestic source of supply that is not seasonal like wild salmon and is produced in a secure environment is becoming increasingly important to consumers.”

The mutant salmon is marketed by AquaBounty as disease and antibiotic free, with a lower carbon footprint and no danger of contaminating marine habitats, as is the case with traditional sea-cage farming.

The genetically engineered fish, despite their fast development, require less food than normal farmed Atlantic salmon, according to the firm.  Biofiltration devices keep the water clean in the Indiana facility’s multiple 70,000-gallon tanks, reducing the likelihood of mutant fish becoming ill and requiring medication.

In 2015, the FDA declared the AquAdvantage Salmon to be “safe and effective.”  Until December, when federal officials authorized a genetically engineered pig for food and medicinal purposes, it was the first genetically modified animal permitted for human consumption.

AquaBounty’s sprawling Indiana plant, which is presently cultivating around 450 tons of mutant salmon from eggs imported from Canada but has the capacity to raise more than twice that much, received government approval in 2018.

Others, however, have a different opinion of the mutant salmon, which has been dubbed “Frankenfish” by some detractors, amid a changing home market that increasingly values provenance, health, and sustainability, as well as wild seafood.

Companies must use a QR code, an on-package display of text, or a specified symbol to reveal genetically modified elements in food, according to the USDA labeling regulation.  The mandatory compliance takes effect in January, however the requirements do not apply to restaurants or food services.

When the mutant fish is offered in grocery stores in the coming months, Wulf said AquaBounty is committed to adopting “genetically engineered” labeling.

Judge Vince Chhabria of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in November that the FDA has the jurisdiction to regulate genetically modified animals and fish.  However, he found that the agency had failed to appropriately analyze the environmental impact of AquaBounty mutant fish escaping into the wild.

The corporation claims that escape is rare since the mutant fish are watched 24 hours a day and kept in tanks with screens, grates, netting, pumps, and chemical disinfection.  The mutant fish produced by the corporation are likewise female and sterile, preventing them from reproducing.

“Our fish are designed to thrive in the land-based environment. That’s part of what makes them unique,” Wulf said. “And we’re proud of the fact that genetically engineered allows us to bring more of a healthy nutritious product to market in a safe, secure and sustainable way.”