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By Megan Dooley
A River Forest resident and her alleged drug supplier were arrested June 8 on felony charges after being apprehended shortly following an alleged drug transaction on a River Forest street.
Vanessa Benefico, 25, of the 7200 block of Oak St., was arrested by River Forest police and charged with possession of a controlled substance, and Charles Banks, 53, of the 1900 block of S. 18th Ave. in Maywood, was charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance after the two were seen performing what looked to be a hand-to-hand drug exchange on the street near Harlem and Oak on June 8.
According to a report released by the River Forest Police Department, detectives had been investigating Benefico after receiving numerous anonymous complaints during May about her involvement in suspicious drug activity in the multifamily apartment complex where she lives.
Police and WEDGE regional drug task force members were monitoring Benefico when they observed the hand-to-hand exchange. Benefico and Banks were stopped separately after the incident and later taken into custody.
River Forest Police Sergeant Michael Thornley said village officers were familiar with Benefico from a prior arrest for retail theft in April.
"At the time of the retail theft, we noted indicators that she may be addicted to heroin," he said. Some time later, Thornley said Benefico was stopped by officers while trying to dispose of used syringes.
The report stated that in the course of the investigation, it was determined that Banks had sold Benefico what's known as a "jab" of heroin or a bundle of 12 bags full of heroin for a price of $100.
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