The wild west end

A drug house in The Reserve?

Authorities are seeking forfeiture of Josh Lindvall’s home in The Reserve as part of a federal drug case against him.
A Springfield businessman is facing federal drug charges and loss of his home in one of the city’s toniest neighborhoods following a September bust.

Joshua D. Lindvall, president of Nelson’s Catering, was indicted in October following the September arrest of Tod Dunbar, a convicted drug dealer who was reportedly living at Lindvall’s home in The Reserve subdivision adjacent to Panther Creek on the west side.

Dunbar, 53, had been in trouble before. Sangamon County court records show a criminal history dating to the 1980s, with his most recent convictions coming in 2019, when Dunbar pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and manufacture and/or delivery of a controlled substance. Several other charges, including possession of methamphetamine, were dismissed as part of a plea bargain that brought Dunbar a seven-year sentence. Prior convictions included a 1999 guilty plea to battery as part of a plea bargain that resulted in dismissal of domestic battery and unlawful restraint charges. All told, Dunbar has been cited for more than 100 traffic offenses, plus three charges of driving under the influence.

It's not clear when Dunbar was released from prison following his 2019 conviction, but folks noticed when he became a regular at 3401 Embassy Drive, a home acquired by Lindvall in 2015 that is worth $667,164, according to the Sangamon County Supervisor of Assessments, and neighbored by properties worth at least that much.

“In early September, 2022, Springfield neighborhood police officer A. Watts received numerous complaints from neighbors in the area of Embassy Drive that Josh Lindvall…owner of Nelson’s Catering had lots of suspicious activity at his residence,” Russell Lehr, a Springfield police detective assigned to a federal Drug Enforcement Administration task force, wrote in a criminal complaint. “The information obtained stated that Lindvall has known felons staying with him at the residence and it is suspected they are using drugs at the house. Neighborhood complaints also stated that numerous females were dropped off at the house during all hours of the night.”

Cops soon took action.

On Sept. 26, officers with the DEA, the Illinois State Police and the Springfield Police Department set up surveillance on Lindvall’s home, looking for a white Cadillac reputedly owned by Dunbar. It wasn’t there. Armed with a search warrant for the home, they waited. An hour later, cops at Veterans Parkway near Panther Creek Drive, an intersection nearly two miles from Lindvall’s home, spotted the Cadillac headed toward The Reserve. The only person inside was the driver, Dunbar, police say.

Officer Watts, the neighborhood police officer who’d been contacted by suspicious neighbors, tried stopping the car, but Dunbar kept going, according to police, who say that he stepped on the gas and was trying to evade officers. “Dunbar continued to drive westbound on Spaulding Orchard Road at a high rate of speed as law enforcement agents and officers followed him,” Lehr wrote in his complaint. “Watts observed Dunbar throw several plastic bags which contained a white substance out the window. The bags broke opened (sic) as they hit the ground spilling the contents onto the roadway. Agents and officers assumed the contents to be either methamphetamine or powder cocaine but were unable to collect any of the substances due to high winds in the area.”

Plenty still was left, according to police.

With cops following – court files don’t make clear from what distance — Dunbar drove to a Dollar General store on West Jefferson Street, where he parked, walked away from the Cadillac, sat down on steps behind a business, then pulled out a phone, according to Tower’s complaint. While Dunbar was on the phone, cops outside Lindvall’s house saw a black Mustang with vanity plates leave the home. With police following, the Mustang’s driver, Barnett G. Glisson, drove to Dunbar, who got in the car bearing a backpack. Glisson has not been charged with a crime.

Police stopped the Mustang and found nearly $28,000 in the backpack. When officers searched his home, Lindvall showed them a text message he’d received from Dunbar, according to Lehr’s complaint:

“Dude I just got into a high speed pursuit wreck to f**** car they’re on my ass I need you to in the room get that 12 out of there and that backpack out of the closet kick the door and do what you got to do.”

Police suspect that Dunbar was referring to a 12-gauge shotgun and 14 ounces of methamphetamine in a backpack that officers found in his room, along with nearly a half-ounce of crack, more than an ounce of various pills, more than a half-ounce of powder cocaine and more than a pound and a half of marijuana. Police also found nearly 70 firearms, apparently belonging to Lindvall. Authorities are seeking forfeiture of the guns, along with $27,040 in cash, Lindvall’s 2013 Corvette and the Embassy Drive home.

Lindvall and Dunbar had been dealing drugs as far back as April, according to a grand jury indictment filed last month. Dunbar is charged with four drug and two firearm offenses; Lindvall, who is free on a recognizance bond, faces two drug charges, including conspiracy to distribute drugs and maintaining a home where drugs were stored and distributed, and one firearm charge.

Scott Sabin, Lindvall’s attorney, declined comment, saying that he hasn’t yet studied the case beyond reading accusations from authorities. “I have a very one-sided picture of everything,” he said.

A spokesperson from Nelson's Catering said that Lindvall is no longer involved in day-to-day operations and sent the following statement to Illinois Times: "Josh has been retired since 2017 when his younger brother became the president. During 2020, Jeff Lindvall left the company and sold his shares back to the corporation. Since August 2020, Nelson’s has been managed by a team of long-time employees."

This story has been updated to include a response from Nelson's Catering regarding Lindvall's role with the company.

About The Author

Bruce Rushton

Bruce Rushton is a freelance journalist.

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