Three Nigerian men arrested in Chicago in what was described as a stolen car packed with counterfeit passports, drivers’ licenses, and cash, are back on the street, after they faced relatively minor charges.
Mayowa Balogun, Danteni Tijani and Dolapo Badmus, were picked up on January 23, in a Maserati SUV which came back stolen out of Ohio. Police alleged all were carrying counterfeit passports and driver’s licenses, mostly from Great Britain.
According to Nbcchicago, the investigators said they also found nearly $40,000 in the car’s glove compartment, and over $13,000 in a coat elsewhere in the car.
Nevertheless, Balogun and Badmus, were charged only with possession of altered documents, a class 4 felony which allowed them to receive I-bonds and walk out of court.
The driver, Tijani, initially faced an additional charge of possession of a stolen motor vehicle. But that charge was later dropped.
Still, when Tijani appeared last week before Judge William Raines, when his attorney sought to have his bond reduced, exactly the opposite happened.
Raines set Tijani’s bond at $100,000, and ordered that he be placed on electronic monitoring if he managed to post that amount. Which he did, with the aid of a friend, less than an hour later.
Authorities were at a loss to explain why the charges were seemingly light despite the allegations that the three had obtained passports with their own pictures from Great Britain.
In court, it was presented that the documents had been obtained in short order for relatively little cost in Chicago. A spokesman for State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said prosecutors had insufficient evidence to make charges pertaining to the stolen car stick.
And that they had charged the document offenses to the fullest extent possible. The three are scheduled to appear in court again later this month.