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Father and son plead not guilty to weapons, drug charges
By Tony Gordon | Daily Herald Staff

Burl Thomas\


John Thomas


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Published: 10/15/2009 4:42 PM | Updated: 10/15/2009 4:44 PM

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A father and son from Antioch Township pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges they kept explosives, guns and drugs in their home.

Burl Thomas, 56, and John Thomas, 24, face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of armed violence, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of explosives and unlawful use of a weapon.

Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Scott Hoffert said local police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the Thomas' residence in the 25000 block of West Linden Lane on Sept. 2.

Hoffert said inside a bedroom occupied by Burl Thomas, police discovered more than 30 weapons, including a live military antitank rocket launcher, semiautomatic rifles, shotguns, pistols and ammunition.

Officers also found a half-pound of dynamite, blasting caps and detonator cord.

Instructions on converting weapons to automatic fire and making booby traps were also found, Hoffert said, along with Nazi and anarchist materials.

Two ounces of cocaine and about a pound of marijuana were also found in the house, Hoffert said.

At first, officials believed there was not enough evidence to charge John Thomas in connection with any of the material found and he was originally accused of misdemeanor resisting arrest for trying to interfere with the search of the house.

He posted $100 for bond less than 12 hours after his arrest and was free for two days until the more serious charges were filed against him and he was rearrested.

Burl Thomas complained of chest pains during his arrest and spent two days at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville before being transferred to the Lake County jail, where he remains under medical care.

Both men are now being held on $1 million bond.

Circuit Judge Fred Foreman told the pair they face sentences of between 15 and 30 years if convicted of armed violence, six and 30 years if convicted of possession of cocaine and up to five years on each of the other charges.

Foreman scheduled a trial of the case for Dec. 7 and ordered both to appear in court again Nov. 9.