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Thornton man charged in massive Illinois cocaine bust

Local resident Payden Davidge and Burlington's Rebecca Kiczma arrested after state police allegedly seized 125 kilograms of cocaine on highway outside St. Louis
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Two Canadians, including a man from the Barrie area, face drug-trafficking charges in what local media in Illinois are calling “the largest cocaine bust" in the state this year.

Illinois State Police say officers seized 125 kilograms of cocaine that was allegedly discovered in a vehicle after a routine traffic stop east of St. Louis on Aug 30.

Payden Davidge, 33, of Thornton, and Rebecca Kiczma, 37, of Burlington, are both charged with drug trafficking.

“On Aug. 30, 2023, an (Illinois State Trooper) conducted a traffic stop on Interstate 70 eastbound at Milepost 42.5 in Bond County for an Illinois Vehicle Code violation,” Trooper Josh Korando, of the Illinois State Police Public Information Office, told BarrieToday.

During the stop, Korando said the two suspects were arrested for cocaine trafficking, which is a Class X felony).

"Both individuals are in custody at the Bond County Jail," he added. 

Davidge has a bond of $7 million while Kiczma's bond has been set at $5 million.

"The Southern Illinois Drug Task Force adopted the case,” Korando said.

None of the allegations have been tested in court. 

If convicted of a Class X felony in the United States, it would mean no less than 30 years or more than 120 years imprisonment, and no eligibility for probation. The maximum fine would be $1 million (U.S.).

The amount of cocaine seized has an estimated street value of nearly $4.3 million (Cdn.).

Dora Mann, the state’s attorney in this case, told BarrieToday: “There was a contested preliminary hearing in Ms. Kiczma’s case (Sept. 21). The testimony at the hearing included that the vehicle was stopped based on a traffic violation and that the suspected cocaine was 125 kilos.”

Kiczma’s defence lawyer waived her formal arraignment yesterday and she pleaded not guilty.

Waiving the formal reading of the charges in court means the lawyer gives the court permission to avoid the public reading of the charges, which, to a limited extent, helps protect their privacy. The attorney still receives the written charges.

Davidge’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct.19.

Court documents obtained by BarrieToday shows Davidge and Kiczma have been advised of their rights to have Canada’s consular representatives “made aware of their arrest and detention and to communicate with said representatives.”

Both have waived their right to such notice and communication.

About the Author: Kevin Lamb

Kevin Lamb picked up a camera in 2000 and by 2005 was freelancing for the Barrie Examiner newspaper until its closure in 2017. He is an award-winning photojournalist, with his work having been seen in many news outlets across Canada and internationally
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