Montgomery cancer patient sentenced to 4 years in prison over THC-infused chocolate delivery

GENEVA, Ill. -- A suburban man who, according to his defense attorney, brought over 40 pounds of drug-infused candy to self-medicate as he battled cancer, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Thomas J. Franzen, 37, pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in exchange for the sentence, the Kane County state's attorney's office said.

In a statement, prosecutors said they dropped the more serious charge of drug trafficking that carries a minimum sentence of 12 years in "recognition of the seriousness of Mr. Franzen's medical condition."

"We did this in spite of evidence that proves Mr. Franzen is a drug dealer," Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said in a statement.

In 2014, authorities found a 42 pounds of THC-infused chocolate in a package shipped from California to Franzen's home in west suburban Montgomery, prosecutors said.

Officers later searched Franzen's home and found cocaine, over 100 additional grams of marijuana and other items used for drug dealing, prosecutors said. They allegedly found a digital scale, $2,000 in cash, ledgers used to track drug sales and packaging materials.

Franzen's defense attorney, David Camic, said his client has stage-four cancer and used the chocolate to self-medicate, the Daily Herald reported. An expert was reportedly petitioned in 2018 to evaluate Franzen, and found he had testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and abdominal cavity.

Camic said prosecutors showed "compassion" in removing the trafficking charge, the Daily Herald reported.

Prosecutors said Franzen delayed his prosecution by more than five years by asserting his medical condition kept him from sitting through a trial or serving time in prison. Prosecutors said they asked for but never received verification that this was true.

"In fact," McMahon said in the statement, "Mr. Franzen's own physician stated that Franzen's medical condition would not prevent him from sitting through his trial."

The marijuana found a Franzen's home was not purchased at a medical marijuana business, prosecutors said.

"[T]he amount he purchased far exceeds what would be used for personal consumption and is evidence that he is a drug dealer," McMahon said.

Franzen is due in court again June 14 to submit medical tests so the judge can determine if Franzen is fit to begin his sentence.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2019.)