Boyfriend takes blame for crime
KANKAKEE — Yisel Guadalupe Perez Varela, a 2018 Kankakee High School graduate, has been sitting in jail for nine months on drug charges.
Meanwhile, her boyfriend has taken the blame for the crime, according to court records. He has not been arrested.
Varela, now 19, was charged last July after police discovered that she opened a package that contained two pounds of crystal methamphetamine and seven pounds of marijuana, according to the transcript of an officer’s grand jury testimony.
The drugs were valued at $110,000, police said.
Varela, who had worked at a Kankakee loan company, must put up $50,000 of a $500,000 bond to be released from the Kankakee County Jail. She has tried to get her bail reduced.
She has no previous criminal record, not even a traffic ticket, her lawyer said in court records.
The lawyer says she had begun applications to attend either Kankakee Community College or Olivet Nazarene University. She is a lifelong Kankakee resident.
The court records state the package was reportedly delivered to Varela’s grandparents’ house in the 500 block of South Lincoln Avenue.
UPS was to have delivered the package, but officers from the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group, or KAMEG, intercepted it, placing it on the grandparents’ doorstep and staking out the home, according to grand jury testimony. The agency learned about the shipment through a source in Kentucky.
The package, sent from Santa Rosa, Calif., was addressed to another woman.
In a request for a bond reduction, Varela’s lawyer said she had been cooperative with authorities and made available her phone for inspection.
The court pleading included a Facebook message from a man who identified himself as Varela’s boyfriend. His post was apparently in response to a Daily Journal story about her arrest.
“She was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” the man wrote. “I am the responsible one. I have been trying to turn myself in.”
The boyfriend said he could never heal the damage to the woman.
Calling her “innocent” and “beautiful,” he said he had planned to start a family with her.
“I have been trying to do everything I can to get you out. If I have to rot in jail, so be it,” he said.
‘SAY IT’S A GIFT’
The pleading also contained a chain of text messages between Varela and the man about the package in question, which was to arrive at her grandparents’ house. There was no mention of drugs; Varela never asked in the exchange what was in the package.
The man wrote Varela, “If I order something from (California), no one would say anything? The package gets here Thursday, amor.”
She said she would let her grandparents know. “I’ll tell them it’s for a friend,” she said.
In the documents, there is a notation, perhaps from her lawyer, that says, “Why would she let her strict grandparents know?”
Her boyfriend gave her a UPS internet link for information on the status of the delivery.
“Just say it’s a gift for some friends that just had a baby,” the man said.
On July 19, the day of the delivery, the man informed Varela that the package was at the house.
“Open it, baby, and see if it’s wrapped in a gift, like not torn apart or anything. It has to be wrapped, as a gift is inside,” he told her.
She responded she still was at work.
Late in the morning, officers witnessed an older man picking up the package, according to a KAMEG officer’s testimony. The officers put a device in the package to alert when it was opened.
About 1 p.m., Varela arrived and entered the house. Three minutes afterward, she opened the package. Officers then raided the house and arrested her.
It was unclear in court records whether she saw the drugs or if there was a gift inside containing the drugs that she did not open.
The Daily Journal called the boyfriend’s phone number listed in the text messages. The person answering the phone said she did not know the man.
The Daily Journal is withholding the man’s identity because he has not been charged.
‘BONDS ARE FAIR’
Varela faces charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver. If she is sentenced to prison for the charges, she must serve 75 percent of the time, according to court records.
Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe said in an email that he was unable to comment on the evidence while the case is pending and further investigation continues.
As for Varela’s bail, he wrote, “Bonds vary by case, judge and facts. In this instance, I believe the bonds are fair given the severity of the offense.”
Varela’s attorney, Martin Quintana, who has a downtown Chicago office, declined to comment on the case.
Varela’s trial has not been scheduled.