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Two-time Felon Found Guilty on Drug Charges, Not Armed Violence

The Cook County Court House at 26th & California where Nash was found guilty.
The Cook County Court House at 26th & California where Nash was found guilty. Photo Credit: Alexandra Milletta

CHICAGO – A Garfield Ridge man was found guilty Thursday by a jury on two charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Anthony Nash, a two-time felon, was also charged with armed violence and armed habitual criminal, but he was found not guilty on those charges.

Chicago Police Department surveillance team member Steve Hefel testified during the trial at the Cook County criminal courthouse on Tuesday that he saw Nash complete a transaction with a white woman in the backyard of 4528 S. Lavergne Ave., which is a home owned by Nash’s brother, Jermal. He said the transaction took place Aug. 3, 2012, at about 7:30 p.m.

“Most people have jobs to support their families,” said State’s Attorney Melissa Sams during opening arguments. “Anthony Nash’s job was to sell drugs.”

Nash sold bags of heroin marked with his trademark, a spade, Sams said.

She also explained that a felon cannot possess a handgun under Illinois law.

Hefel said he observed Nash and his brother Jermal in their backyard on a staircase from a neighboring house.

After about 45 minutes of observing the two brothers, Hefel said he saw lights from a car enter the alley behind the house. Nash went to the gangway and waved to the car, Hefel added.

He saw Nash remove “small white items the size of a quarter all in a clear plastic sandwich bag from his cargo shorts pocket,” Hefel said. He also saw the woman hand Nash money, although he did not know the exact dollar amount.

Defense Attorney Shelby Prusak questioned Hefel on why he was able to see the small items but not the amount of currency exchanged if he was approximately 25 feet away.

After witnessing the exchange, Hefel said Nash put the plastic bag back into his pocket and had a brief conversation with the woman before she left.

Hefel said he radioed officers who came through the alley in an unmarked Chevy Impala less than a minute after the call.

Hefel said he saw Nash begin to run and yell, “The cops are coming!” while hugging his right cargo pocket on his shorts.

Nash then removed a black handgun from his pocket and threw it toward the top of the fence in the backyard. The gun struck the fence and fell back into the yard, Hefel said. Hefel shouted into the radio, “He pitched a gun.”

Hefel said he stayed on the staircase until one of the other officers on the scene retrieved the gun.

Prusak questioned Hefel on a number of missteps regarding the case.

According to Prusak, the report filed by Hefel for the white woman who purchased the heroin originally stated that she was African American. Hefel said he eventually was aware of the mistake and made the correction.

Prusak also questioned Hefel on details regarding the gun.

According to Prusak, Hefel did not include that Nash “pitched the gun” on the reports.

When asked how the gun was handled when found, Hefel said the officer picked up the gun with his bare hand, held up the gun and then made sure it was safe.

Prusak said the gun was sent to the Illinois Crime Lab, but it was not tested for fingerprints or DNA.

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