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People v. Cruz





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. James M. Bailey, Judge, presiding. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial, defendants Juan Cruz, Darit Lindgren and Patrick Staerzl were convicted of manufacturing a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 56 1/2, pars. 1401 and 1206(e)(1)), and each was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 30 months' probation. The trial court acquitted a fourth defendant who was tried with defendants herein. Defendants maintain that the State failed to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; Staerzl and Lindgren also claim that the convictions violate the one-act one-crime principle. Because the appeal attacks the sufficiency of the evidence, we set out the facts at length.

As an overview, the bulk of trial testimony consisted of observations of one or more of the defendants on nine different days by five agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The surveillance, which we summarize chronologically rather than by agent, culminated in the execution of a search warrant at 1314 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, on January 23, 1981. Based on his participation in the search and analysis of items seized, a DEA chemist testified concerning the production, composition and quantity of various substances found there. In addition, the parties stipulated to a number of incidental facts.

On November 17, 1980, an agent went to the Wilkins-Anderson Company, where he wiped three beakers free from fingerprints, replaced them in a box and noted the design on the box. He set up surveillance outside; at 11:30 a.m., the agent saw Lindgren carry a similar box from Wilkins-Anderson and place it in the rear seat of a tan Cadillac. The agent followed Lindgren to the corner of Grand and Elizabeth, where Lindgren removed the box from the rear seat and carried it into a building on the northwest corner. The building, located at 1314 West Grand Avenue, appeared to be a garage, with large overhead doors on both Grand and Elizabeth, and a sign which read "Grand Auto Body." The body shop abutted a residential building to the north at 510 Elizabeth.

The agent also observed Staerzl and Cruz that day. Staerzl made several trips between the body shop and a hotdog stand located directly across Elizabeth at 1248 West Grand, on the northeast corner of the intersection. The agent stated that Staerzl spent most of his time behind the counter of the hotdog stand, and appeared to be running it. Staerzl let himself into the body shop with a key, stayed an average of 10-15 minutes, and on one trip carried a white plastic pail from the hotdog stand to the body shop. The agent saw Cruz standing inside the body shop near the overhead door on Elizabeth Street when that door, apparently operated from inside, opened to admit a red Ford Bronco.

On January 12, 1981, an agent observed Lindgren as he pulled up to the body shop in a red Chevy pickup truck. Lindgren stopped briefly at the hotdog stand, then went into the body shop. Later Staerzl and Cruz arrived in a yellow Mercedes Benz, stopped briefly at the hotdog stand, then went into the residential building at 510 Elizabeth. Staerzl and Cruz left in the Mercedes; Lindgren was not seen again that day.

The next day, January 13, an agent saw Staerzl walk from 510 Elizabeth to the hotdog stand, then drive to the Injecto Molding Company. The agent noticed that Staerzl carried a bag when he left Injecto at 4:30 p.m. The agent did not follow Staerzl, but he observed the same car parked at the body shop immediately upon his return. At about 5:15 p.m., Staerzl left the hotdog stand and went to the body shop for about 20 minutes.

On January 14, Staerzl was seen making several trips between 3 and 5 p.m., stopping for 15 to 20 minutes at the hotdog stand, the body shop, and 510 Elizabeth. At about 5 p.m., Lindgren joined Staerzl in the body shop, where they both stayed until about 6:30 p.m., except that Lindgren went to 510 Elizabeth for a few moments during that period. Lindgren left at about 6:30 p.m., and Staerzl at about 7:15 p.m.

On January 16, an agent drove slowly down Elizabeth Street, past the body shop's open overhead door, and observed two hooded benches, glassware and apparatus. Lindgren was standing in the doorway. The agent saw Lindgren leave at 4, then saw Staerzl walk from the hotdog stand to the body shop at 4:20 p.m. Approximately 15 minutes later, the agent saw Lindgren and Staerzl exit the body shop, but the agent stated that he had not seen Lindgren return there after his 4 p.m. departure.

On January 19, an agent followed Lindgren to the Wilkins-Anderson Company. Lindgren went inside through the front door and emerged with a piece of paper, then went to the loading dock, where he picked up several boxes and placed them in his car. Another agent followed Lindgren back to the body shop. After he took the boxes into the body shop, Lindgren went to the hotdog stand and spoke with Staerzl. The two left the hotdog stand and conversed outside for several minutes. Lindgren then returned to the body shop, and Staerzl returned to the hotdog stand. Later, an agent followed Lindgren to 2930 North Sheridan Road.

On January 20, the Mercedes and Cadillac were parked at the hotdog stand when surveillance began at 10 a.m. Staerzl was seen just before noon, and Lindgren was seen at about 1 p.m. At 3:30 p.m., Cruz and Lindgren left the body shop and drove from the vicinity in a yellow Datsun 240Z. A few minutes later, Staerzl emerged from the body shop, stopped briefly at the hotdog stand, and drove off in the Mercedes. At approximately 4 p.m., the Mercedes, then the Datsun, returned; Cruz, Lindgren and Staerzl conversed in the parking lot for several minutes. After the three spent a few more minutes in the hotdog stand, Cruz and Lindgren went to the body shop. Lindgren left the area from 5 to 5:40 p.m. Sometime around 5:30 p.m., Staerzl stopped briefly at the body shop, then went to Cavello's Lounge nearby.

At 6:30 that evening, an agent walked past the body shop. He noticed that the lights were on, heard a fan operating at the rear of the building, and smelled a chemical odor. The agent then followed Cruz from the body shop to the hotdog stand and smelled a similar chemical odor when he stood near Cruz. Cruz and Lindgren left the area at 8:15 p.m. The agent walked past the building again, noticed that the lights were off and heard no sound from the fan.

On January 22, the lights and fan were on until Cruz and Lindgren left at 9 p.m.

On January 23, an agent observed Cruz as he parked the red Chevy pickup truck at the Curtis-Mattheson Scientific Company. Cruz went inside and came out with an employee pushing a cart laden with five metal cans. After loading the cans into the truck, Cruz drove away. The agent attempted to follow, but lost the truck; he next saw it at the body shop.

Meanwhile, other agents maintained surveillance in the vicinity of the body shop. Cruz pulled up to the building, then walked around the corner and out of view. Moments later, he came into view as the overhead door opened. When Cruz returned to the driver's seat, the agents, with the help of ...

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