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Local

Sterling woman charged with dealing cocaine

DIXON – The girlfriend of a Sterling felon charged in two counties with selling cocaine is free on bond on some of the same charges.

Vanessa Jo Villegas, 24, of Sterling, is charged in Lee County Court with possession of more than 100 but less than 400 grams of cocaine with intent to deliver, which is punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison, and possession of more than 100 but less than 400 grams of cocaine, which carries 4 to 15 years,

The Blackhawk Area Task Force obtained a warrant for her arrest and she was arrested around 4 p.m. Wednesday in the 1200 block of West 19th Street in Sterling. She posted $7,500 cash bond.

Villegas was in the car Feb. 25 when her boyfriend, Andrew William Knapp, 27, was arrested by the task force on Interstate 88 in Lee County; he pleaded not guilty Thursday to the same charges, and is in Lee County Jail on $1 million bond. His next hearing is Thursday.

Knapp also is charged in Whiteside County Court with felonies in two 2016 cases. He was charged that March 28 with possession of a controlled substance, punishable by 1 to 3 years, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana. He had a pretrial hearing Wednesday, and now those court records are sealed.

He was charged that Nov. 15 with four felonies: possession of less than a gram of cocaine with the intent to sell near a park and being a felon in possession of a firearm, both punishable by 4 to 7 years, and possession of less than a gram of cocaine with intent to sell, punishable by 1 to 4 years. He has a March 21 pretrial hearing in that case.

Knapp also was charged with two counts of misdemeanor DUI on Feb. 14, 2017; his next pretrial in that case also is March 21.

Knapp has nearly a decade-long history of felony convictions in Whiteside County, in 2008 conviction for theft; in 2009 for damaging property; in 2010 for being a felon in possession of a firearm; and in May 2012 for aggravated battery.

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