Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy receives FOP recognition for two drug busts

Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Suttles was recognized by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge (FOP) for his on-duty actions that resulted in the seizure of more than one-half ton of illegal marijuana worth an estimated $6 million in two recent drug busts.

Derek Suttles’ keen instincts and careful observation are directly responsible for removing more than 1,200 pounds of illegal drugs from our streets,” said FOP State Lodge President Chris Southwood, who made the award presentation on Wednesday in Jacksonville. “He is a shining example of what it means to serve and protect the citizens of Morgan County.”

Suttles received the FOP Meritorious Service Award for two drug busts that occurred in less than a month’s time. The first one, on December 31, 2017, resulted in the arrest of two Texas men and the seizure of 1,000 pounds of pre-packaged marijuana at the Love’s Truck Stop in South Jacksonville. Deputy Suttles observed a recreational vehicle at the truck stop, struck up a conversation with the two men driving it, and became suspicious of their story. The men consented to a search of the vehicle, and an Illinois State Police canine unit was called in. Police discovered 30 duffel bags in the vehicle, each with approximately 34 pounds of pre-packaged marijuana ready for sale. The two men are facing numerous charges in what is considered one of the largest marijuana confiscations in Morgan County history.

The second arrest occurred January 9 during a traffic stop along Interstate 72 near South Jacksonville. Suttles detected the odor of marijuana coming from the stopped vehicle, and upon further investigation 271 pounds of marijuana valued at $1 million was found. Two out-of-state men were arrested and are facing charges in that incident.

The Meritorious Service Award is given for outstanding police work that brings great credit to the law enforcement profession.

The Fraternal Order of Police, founded in 1915, is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. With a proud tradition of officers representing officers, the FOP is the most respected and most recognized police organization in the country. The Illinois FOP, chartered in 1963, is the second largest State Lodge, proudly representing more than 34,000 active duty and retired police officers – more than 10 percent of all FOP members nationwide. Visit for more information.

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