Lake County law enforcement took out a huge broom Thursday and swept
up a number of accused drug dealers.
Operation Spring Cleaning launched just after 5:30 a.m., as 153
officers from 24 agencies hit the streets with several goals.
Police were seeking to serve 100 outstanding arrest warrants for drug
violations. In addition, several search warrants resulted in arrests
in new cases, and parolees were checked for possible violations.
Sheriff Gary Del Re and Mark Rasmussen, director of the Lake County
Metropolitan Enforcement Group, said the activities were part of
similar efforts across the country to draw attention to the need for
more federal funding for regional task forces such as MEG.
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Brenda Kratovil settled her marijuana possession case Monday in one legal
forum in order to take it on to another.
Kratovil, 42, of Beach Park, took a felony conviction from Lake County
Associate Judge John Phillips, clearing the way for her lawyers to go to the
appellate court and argue she uses the drug for her health.
She was arrested Sept. 4, 2001, when agents of the Lake County Metropolitan
Enforcement Group found 25 7-foot-tall marijuana plants growing behind her
home at 9905 Oak Forest Lane and seven other plants being dried inside.
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Jurors in the upcoming marijuana possession trial of a Beach Park woman will
not be allowed to exonerate her simply because she believed the glaucoma she
suffers from gave her no other choice than to possess the drug.
Circuit Judge Mary Seminara Schostok ruled against Brenda Kratovil's request
to have the jury consider a so-called "medical necessity" defense. Schostok
said she believes the marijuana may not have been necessary.
Monday's ruling came after two days of testimony during which Kratovil's
doctor testified he believes laser surgery would relieve suffering from the
progressive eye disease. Kratovil also testified eye drops alleviated some
of the pain.
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A Lake County judge ruled last week that Illinois is not ready for the
concept of medicinal marijuana.
At least not in the case of Brenda Kratovil, 41, who is charged with growing
25 7-foot-tall pot plants behind her home at 9905 Oak Forest, Beach Park.
Kratovil suffers from glaucoma and is virtually blind after 40 surgeries
during the last 20 years to treat the condition.
There is plenty of medical evidence that smoking marijuana helps relieve the
pain from the disease. While several states and Canada allow people to
possess marijuana for that purpose, Illinois is not among them.
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