By Bob Uphues
Riverside police have arrested a man they say ran a drug operation out of a downtown apartment until late last year, when police raided the residence and recovered drugs, cash, paraphernalia and three large pit bulls.
Detectives arrested Michael A. Silva, 29, as he exited the Maybrook courthouse on the morning of Jan. 8. He reportedly had accompanied his girlfriend to the courthouse. She reportedly was there for an appearance related to a traffic offense.
Silva was charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was scheduled to appear in bond court on Jan. 9 at Maybrook, according to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.
Riverside police had been looking for Silva since Nov. 2, 2019, when they executed a search warrant at an East Avenue apartment, where he'd been staying with his three pit bulls.
On the morning of Nov. 2, Weitzel said police had received information of a drug operation being run out of the building at 22 East Ave. and obtained a search warrant that same day.
Riverside police, aided by the west suburban Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT), the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS) SWAT team and a dog-handling expert, executed the search warrant at 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, staying on scene until past midnight.
While Silva was not at the apartment at the time of the raid, police took the three dogs into custody, where they have remained since. Police also reportedly recovered cocaine, hydrocodone and alprazolam (Xanax) pills, cannabis, equipment and paraphernalia used to package drugs, drug-sale receipts and $12,500 in cash.
Silva reportedly never returned to the apartment following the raid, and police had been trying to find him for the past two months. When they learned his girlfriend had a Jan. 8 traffic court date, detectives staked out the courtroom in case Silva happened to show up.
According to Weitzel, the investigation revealed that Silva had been subletting the apartment illegally from the leaseholder. He reportedly told police that he did so, because he assumed the building management company would not rent to him due to his criminal background, which includes several prior arrests, and because he owned three large dogs.
Silva, who police say is a self-admitted street gang member, allegedly did not sell narcotics directly out of the apartment, but would arrange to have "runners" pick up the drugs at the apartment and then use rideshares to deliver them.
He used the dogs, said police, to protect the drug operation. When police served the search warrant, one of the dogs roamed freely inside the apartment, while the other two were in cages.