By Bob Uphues
Police officers from the West Suburban Enhanced Drug/Gang Enforcement (WEDGE) task force reportedly shut down a drug dealing operation in Oak Park last week, arresting three people.
Edward P. Creedon, 32, the target of the police investigation, was at home when police executed their search warrant on Feb. 13 at 6 a.m. at a single-family home at 1181 S. Euclid Ave.
He was charged with four felony drug offenses, including possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, a Class X felony, which could put Creedon behind bars for up to 30 years, if he's convicted.
But Creedon's mother says police have blown what was going on inside the Euclid Avenue home out of proportion, and that her son was not involved in dealing drugs.
"This was not a drug operation," said Karen Creedon.
According to WEDGE Chairman Thomas Weitzel, who is police chief in Riverside, the investigation into the Oak Park operation stemmed from an incident in Riverside in early January.
Creedon was renting the Oak Park home and illegally subleasing rooms inside the house to at least five others in order to support the drug operation, according to Weitzel. Three of those with subleasees were at home when police executed the search warrant.
Two of the three were arrested, including Matthew A. Cooley, 35, of Chicago, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), and a 30-year-old Oak Park woman who was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Both Creedon and Cooley were released from police custody on Sunday after a Cook County judge issued personal recognizance bonds for both men.
Karen Creedon disputed the police contention that her son was renting to others to support a drug operation. Living with Creedon were his fiancé; Cooley, who is a personal friend; and one other person, said his mother.
During their search of the home, police reported recovering seven grams of cannabis, 1.3 grams of cocaine in both powder and rock form, and 30 grams of methamphetamine. All of the drugs were packaged for both personal use and for sale, according to Weitzel.
Police also recovered what they believe were eight grams of psychedelic mushrooms, but the substance is being analyzed at the Illinois State Police crime lab. Additional charges may be coming, said Weitzel.
"This is a significant arrest as the offenders arrested were selling cannabis, cocaine and meth to other residents of the west suburban area," said Weitzel in a press release. "Police observed numerous drug transactions in which the 'customer' would drive to the home and purchase narcotics at the front door or by going inside the home and then quickly leave after the purchase."
Karen Creedon said it was true that people were visiting the home late at night and for short visits, but said it was because her son had surgery recently and that his friends, many of whom, work until late at night, simply were coming to visit.
"Patrick had hernia surgery a couple weeks ago, and has been in the house for most of that time," Karen Creedon said. "His roommates say there have been a ton of visitors popping in and out to see him.
"Patrick is a night owl. Many of his friends are also, or work night jobs and know he's up. Unfortunately, visitors popping in and out between midnight and 3 a.m. looks suspicious after their home was raided by a task force of 30 police including a SWAT team with rifles."
According to Weitzel, it's the first WEDGE operation where officers have recovered methamphetamine. Weitzel said that the meth was not "cooked" at the Oak Park home. Creedon reportedly was buying the drugs from another source and selling them from the Oak Park address.
Karen Creedon also complained that the family and her son's attorney have not been given complete information about the arrests.
"We will not have the full story until after the pre-trial, but so far no one, including his attorney has been told by the police what they are charged with, what drugs they found in the house or any quantity," Karen Creedon said. "All we 'officially' know is what is stated on the [personal recognizance] bond: 'You are charged with possession of an un-controlled substance.'"
WEDGE is a multijurisdictional task force begun in 2006. Its members include police from Berwyn, Brookfield, Elmwood Park, Forest Park, North Riverside, Oak Park, River Forest, River Grove, Riverside and Stickney.
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