WEST RIDGE — An early morning home invasion — complete with zip ties and torture — took an unexpected turn when Chicago Police officers stumbled upon $500,000 worth of marijuana in the basement of a house on Jarvis Avenue.
It played out in the normally quiet Far North Side neighborhood when four to six men dressed in bogus sheriff’s uniforms and carrying guns pounded their way into a house in the 2700 block of West Jarvis Avenue around 7 a.m. on April 2, DNAinfo Chicago has learned.
The break-in targeted the occupants, not the contents, of the house, police theorize.
Two brothers asleep in the house were taken hostage, zip tied and “tortured” by the intruders, police said. The younger brother, 27, was stabbed four times in his arm, while the elder brother, 31, had part of his ear sliced off by the men.
But the hostage-taking was the beginning. Police sources said they believe the entire job was a targeted drug heist that failed.
The brothers, bound and wounded, were dragged several houses west, where a sledgehammer was used to knock in the front door of a second house, a suspected drug house used by the brothers, that the thieves had targeted all along, police said.
The door-smashing at the second house triggered a burglar alarm, according to a police report, that summoned police cars, sent the robbery crew fleeing and left the bloodied victims to deal with the aftermath. The sledgehammer the thieves used to smash the door was still on the patio when police arrived.
After stabilizing the victims and calling ambulances to transport them to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, officers walked through the house looking for robbers who might have been hiding, according to the report.
Following a blood trail through the entryway and into the basement, an officer discovered seven black duffel bags, some marked with medical marijuana labeling, and others with sealed bags of marijuana stacked around them. The entire basement reeked of pot, according to the report.
In the end, officers collected 78 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $500,000, according to the department. A loaded semi-automatic handgun was found in an upstairs bedroom on a pile of laundry, police said.
While the crime scene was being processed at the second house, back at house from which the brothers were taken, a third family member listed as the owner arrived to let police know he would not be cooperating with any investigation, according to the report.
The homeowner denied officers access to the house and refused to allow an evidence technician inside, police said. In the report, both bloodied brothers and the third man were classified as “uncooperative victims" unwilling to help police solve the case.
After documenting the scene for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, police officers returned about 10:30 p.m. with four warrants to search the house where the drugs were found, including a detached garage, according to the report.
The search warrants allowed police to recover an additional unspecified amount of marijuana, multiple canisters filled with various types of pills, a large black safe, large plastic bags and a vacuum-sealing machine, along with various other items connected to the drug trade, according to police.
Officers also discovered that the owner of the home where the drugs were found was an Egyptian national living in Cairo and working at a job there. When reached by phone in Egypt, he told officers that he had not been in the house since November and that his 32-year-old son was the only one authorized to live at the house. Two of the man’s brothers later told police they would secure the house, according to the report.
The men dressed in sheriff’s gear who kidnapped and attacked the brothers were not found or arrested, police said. They were described as white men in their 30s, according to the report. The investigation of the initial break-in and kidnapping continues.
So far, no arrests have been made.
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