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Cellphone scofflaw attracts Canadian spotlight

Drug suspect heads security at boarding school

Published: Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

JOLIET – The recent arrest of a Quebec man for talking on a cellphone while driving turned into a narcotics case when police found $1.2 million worth of drugs.

Now it is capturing media attention from Canada because of the suspect’s job as a security official at a prestigious boarding school.

Reporters from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Canadian Press, The Caledonian Record and the Stanstead Journal contacted The Herald-News on Friday seeking information on the Jan. 10 arrest of Sylvain Bergeron, 42, of Stanstead.

Bergeron is director of security at Stanstead College, a co-ed boarding school for grades 7 to 12 near the Quebec-Vermont border. He is currently suspended without pay.

“Stanstead is upper crust – tuition and board are in the $30,000 (range) with an excellent hockey program,” one Canadian journalist told The Herald-News.

About 6:20 p.m. Jan. 10, state police saw Bergeron talking on a cellphone while driving on Interstate 355 near Homer Glen, prosecutors told Judge Richard Schoenstedt in weekend court. When the troopers had the vehicle stop, they found more than 900 grams of cocaine inside. Talking on a cellphone without a handsfree device while driving became illegal in Illinois on Jan. 1.

Schoenstedt set Bergeron’s bond at $2 million, meaning he would need to post $200,000 to be released from the Will County jail.

Judge Roger Rickmon upheld Bergeron’s bail amount in bond court Monday. Rickmon also said Bergeron would have to surrender his passport and be subject to random drug testing while awaiting trial.

A courtroom observer felt Bergeron was “apprehensive” when he appeared before Rickmon via video from the county jail. He gave only short “yes” answers to the judge’s questions about his name and the charges.

Bergeron is charged with delivery of drugs, a class X felony carrying a prison sentence between six and 30 years in prison.

Bergeron is scheduled to appear in court again Feb. 3.

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