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Crime & Courts

Streator-area man found guilty of dealing heroin-fentanyl

Benjamin Cook
Benjamin Cook

A man was found guilty Wednesday of selling heroin laced with fentanyl in the Streator area.

Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia found Benjamin Cook guilty of selling heroin to a police informant Feb. 21 and Feb. 28. Cook's trial began Tuesday, with Raccuglia delivering her decision Wednesday after testimony closed and the prosecutor and public defender made their final remarks. Cook did not testify.

Cook, 46, opted to have Raccuglia, rather than a jury, decide guilt or innocence. He is to be sentenced Thursday, Nov. 1. Cook faces a possibly harsher sentence than he otherwise would, because the heroin contained fentanyl, a substance considered especially dangerous.

Audio and video recordings were made of Cook selling the heroin. The Tri-County Drug Enforcement Narcotics Team handled the investigation, which led to Cook's warrant arrest in April at a home in Wenona. Cook has had addresses in Chicago and Streator.

In August 2006, Cook was put on probation for selling cocaine in Streator. He violated probation by possessing marijuana a few months later and was resentenced to another probation term, as well as to 30 days in jail.

In December 2008, Cook was charged with cocaine dealing in La Salle County, but the charge was later dropped, because a key prosecution witness could not be found.

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