He couldn't find a teaching job, so his backup plan was dealing drugs

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - It was probably not the best career move, but a man arrested with what police called a major drug operation in his apartment, said he was dealing because he was having trouble finding a teaching job.

Arturo Rodallegas, 26, was charged Wednesday with felony manufacture and delivery of cannabis, possession of cannabis, manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance, according to Riverside police.

When he was arrested Rodallegas “made a statement to police that he wanted to become a teacher. However, he was having a hard time finding a teaching job so he gave up on applying for teaching positions and decided to sell drugs,” a statement from police said.

Teacher or not, he should have learned a lesson from the incident: Don’t put a burglar alarm in your drug house.

“It really wasn’t his day when somebody broke into his home, stole his cash and then Riverside Police responded to a burglary in progress and ended up finding the drug operation,” Police Chief Tom Weitzel said in the statement.

Police were responding to that alarm in the 0-100 block of Forest Avenue about 7:13 p.m. Tuesday when they found the rear door of the third-floor apartment kicked in, but a search did not turn up a suspect.

What it did turn up was “an extremely strong odor of cannabis” and “drug paraphernalia throughout the residence,” police said.

Detectives sealed the apartment to await a search warrant, then hit the jackpot.

Inside, they found 4 pounds of cannabis packaged for delivery, over 8,821 Xanax pills packaged for delivery, a fully loaded Walther PPK semiautomatic handgun, a 32-caliber fully loaded Smith and Wesson semiautomatic handgun and a bulletproof vest, police said. The total street value of the drugs was $60,000.

“Mr. Rodallegas set up his drug operation starting in July of this year,” Weitzel said. “He moved from Cicero to Riverside specifically to start a drug operation. Additionally, he was also shipping narcotics to the state of California and that investigation is still ongoing.”

Electronic scales, vacuum sealers, material for packaging, and ledgers used for tracking drug shipments out of state were also found, police said. Documents were recovered indicating sales of narcotics out of the apartment, and out-of-state shipments.

Rodallegas showed up while officers were investigating, and thought he was there to assist a burglary investigation. But he was taken into custody pending the search warrant and eventually arrested.

Police found a “sophisticated alarm and video surveillance system” in the apartment, and the suspected burglar was caught on video, at which point the alarm system alerted police. They are still trying to identify the burglar, who got away with a small safe, cash and drugs.

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