Five get big sentences for meth

Five Fayette County men who previously pleaded guilty in federal court to having roles in a large methamphetamine conspiracy were given lengthy prison sentences late last week.

A. Courtney Cox, a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced on Friday that Thomas E. Wilkerson of Shobonier and Vandalia residents David M. Murray, Donald R. Schultz, Billy D. York and Wesley Dean Conner were sentenced for conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with the intent to deliver 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Wilkerson, 47, was sentenced to 254 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release on the conspiracy charge.

Wilkerson also pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of products with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, and he was sentenced to 240 months and three years of supervised release on that charge. His two sentences run concurrently.

Murray, 55, was sentenced to 124 months in prison and five years of supervised release, and was fined $750.

Schultz, 53, was sentenced to 168 months in prison and five years of supervised release, and was fined $750.

York, 49, was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release, and was fined $750.

Conner, 44, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and two years of supervised release, and was fined $375.

The differences in penalties, Cox said, are “largely the result of the amount of methamphetamine attributable to a particular defendant, and his criminal history.”

Five others have been previously sentenced for their roles in this methamphetamine conspiracy, which operated in and around Fayette, Clinton and Madison counties from May 2004 through November 2006, Cox said.

This investigation into methamphetamine manufacturing activity was primarily conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, and was conducted in cooperation with Fayette County State’s Attorney Stephen Friedel.

The investigation was conducted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods DRAGUN Team Initiative, a cooperative effort of local, state and federal law enforcement and state and federal prosecuting authorities, aimed at ridding communities of illegal drugs and guns.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kit Momssey.

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