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Man involved in heroin theft had opiates in system when he died

(MCT) — A man authorities say was involved in the theft of 3 kilos of


from a Will County sheriff's evidence container died of

heart disease

with opiates in his system within days of the break-in, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Police sources said heroin was the drug found in his system.

The sources said the man, whose name was not released, discovered last year that police were storing seized drugs in an outdoor evidence container at the Laraway Road substation near Joliet after he was asked to go there to identify recovered items that may have been stolen from him.

Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas, a sheriff's department spokesman, confirmed that several items were returned to the man before the heroin theft.

The man smelled marijuana in the shipping container, police sources said, and he decided to return to steal it with help from two others Oct. 12. He died Oct. 22, said Charles Colburn of the Illinois state's attorney appellate prosecutor's office.

Colburn said that he was told the man died of heart disease and that opiates were found in his system, but he did not have the autopsy report on hand and did not know which county investigated the death. Police sources described the death as involving a possible heroin overdose. It's not clear whether the heroin was the same that was taken from the sheriff's evidence container.

Prosecutors have charged Midlothian resident Terry Jenkins, 43, and another man with burglary in connection with the break-in. Jenkins is being held on $150,000 bail.

The other man's name hasn't been released because he remains wanted on a $50,000 warrant, said Colburn, who was appointed to handle the cases to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Sheriff's police discovered the heroin was missing Oct. 14 when someone noticed the door to the outdoor evidence container was ajar. A food delivery truck blocked a lone surveillance camera covering the trailer during the burglary, a prosecutor has said.

Police have said the narcotics never should have been stored in the outdoor container. Kaupas said drugs are no longer stored outside and security has been tightened since the theft.

The heroin was seized from a semi allegedly driven by Jose Zamago-Mena and had been tested at the state crime lab months before it was stolen. A Will County judge hasn't yet ruled on whether the felony drug case against Zamago-Mena will go forward.

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