Mexican driver found innocent of drug charges

| 9/23/2002

An Illinois jury acquitted a Mexican trucker Sept. 18 of charges he knowingly possessed more than $1.3 million in cocaine in June.

The Livingston County jury found Felix Francisco Garcia Cedillo, of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, innocent of the Class X felony. A conviction would have carried a minimum prison sentence of 15 years.

Illinois State Police arrested Cedillo on June 7 at the Limestone Rest Area on northbound I-55 near Pontiac after finding 13 kilograms of cocaine hidden in his truck's cab. Engine problems forced him to stop at the rest area.

Public defender David Ahlemeyer said Cedillo did not know the cocaine was in the truck. Ahlemeyer said a dispatcher at a trucking firm in Texas offered Cedillo $450 to drive a load of animal skins to Chicago. Cedillo said the dispatcher gave him a number to call to find out where to deliver the load.

After his arrest, police set up a sting using Cedillo to nab two Chicago men and charge them with felony possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. The pair later made bail and have since failed to attend scheduled court appearances.