VANDALIA — A Brooklyn, New York man entered a plea of not guilty on Fayette County Court Wednesday on charges of cannabis trafficking. 31-year old James Polanco is charged with one count of unlawful cannabis trafficking, a Class X felony, as he is alleged to have “knowingly brought 2,500 or more grams of cannabis into the State of Illinois for the purpose of delivering said cannabis in Illinois or any other state, in that said defendant occupied a vehicle, being a black Jeep, that contained in excess of 2,500 grams of cannabis.” Polanco is also charged with one count of Unlawful Possession of Cannabis, a Class 1 felony, as he is alleged to have “knowingly had in his possession more than 5,000 grams of a substance containing cannabis.” The Class X felony is punishable by 6-30 years in prison while the Class 1 felony is punishable by 4-15 years in prison. Polanco made his first appearance with counsel at which time he waived a preliminary hearing and also waived formal arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty.
Polanco and his attorney William Farr had previously entered a motion for reduction of bond from the previously set $500,000 bond and the argument on that motion was heard. Over the state’s objection, the motion to reduce bond to $300,000 was granted due to factors such as Polanco’s father having the means to get him back and forth from New York to Illinois for court dates, Polanco having a job and a DUI being the only mark on his record. With the bond reduction, Polanco must live with his father in Brooklyn, New York and has signed a waiver of extradition. Pre-trial in the matter is now set May 2 at 10a.m.