Woman had $3 million in marijuana in her home, storage unit


A Round Lake Beach woman is facing up to 30 years in prison on drug charges after police say they confiscated an estimated $3 million of marijuana from her home and a storage unit, authorities said Monday.

Maria T. Villa-Mauleon, 30, of 400 block of Meadow Green Drive, is charged with unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis stemming from her arrest Friday, Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko said.

She also is facing charges of unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a firearm without a firearm owners identification card, unlawful possession of ammunition without a FOID card and child endangerment, Filenko said.

Villa-Mauleon remains held in Lake County jail on $1 million bail.

“This is one of the largest drug busts in the Round Lake area in at least the last two decades,” Filenko said. “I can’t remember anything larger in my two decades of working the area.”

Villa-Mauleon’s arrest came after Jose Avila-Zumadio, 32, of Guadalajara, Mexico, was charged with unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, unlawful possession of cannabis and forgery, as a result of an Oct. 7 traffic stop.

Filenko said Avila-Zumadio was pulled over near Route 134 and Fairlawn Drive in Round Lake Park for driving without a valid driver’s license. During an inventory of Avila-Zumadio’s vehicle, Filenko said, about 3¼ pounds of marijuana with a street value of approximately $15,000 was discovered.

Avila-Zumadio, who remains in the Lake County jail on $500,000 bail, also had a forged Mexican passport and about $1,900 in cash, Filenko said.

“The suspect in the traffic stop made a statement that he was working for a cartel out of Guadalajara (Mexico),” he said. “The suspect wouldn’t say anything more to us out of fear for the safety of his family.”

Further investigation led police to obtain search warrants for a storage unit in Round Lake Beach and Villa-Mauleon’s home, Filenko said.

Police from Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach, and police dogs from the Lake County sheriff’s office raided the home and storage facility, where about 600 pounds of marijuana were located, along with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a loaded 30-round magazine, three more boxes of ammunition, and about $6,800 in cash.

Items that help create forged passports also were seized, Filenko said.

Villa-Mauleon is charged with child endangerment because teens were living at the home where individuals involved in drug distribution were located, Filenko said

She is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 9 for a preliminary hearing.