California man lands in jail after traffic stop in Effingham County reveals $3.5 million in heroin

EFFINGHAM COUNTY — A 45-year-old California man in in the Effingham Jail, charged in connection with carrying approximately $3.5 million worth of heroin in the sleeper cab of a semi-truck he was driving Sunday.

Conrad Valdez was charged Tuesday in Effingham County Court with Class X felony trafficking of a controlled substance and Class X felony delivery of more than 900 grams of heroin.

According to the Effingham County State’s Attorney’s Office, bail for Valdez has been set at $2 million after Illinois State Police troopers stopped his vehicle around 10:26 p.m. Sunday on Interstate 70, just two miles west of the Montrose exit.

During an inspection of the vehicle, troopers — with the assistance of K-9 officer Bullet from the Altamont Police Department —  reportedly discovered approximately 44 pounds of heroin under the bottom sleeper bunk of the truck.

Because of the large quantity of drugs involved in the case, if convicted Valdez will face mandatory minimum sentences of 30 years on the trafficking charge and 15 years on the possession charge. He is next scheduled to appear in court at 11 a.m. Oct. 6.

ISP and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration continues to investigate the case, but prosecutors do not believe any of the heroin was destined for the Illinois drug market.