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MONMOUTH — Eight area residents, including at least three from Monmouth, are facing up to life in prison after being indicted for conspiring to manufacture more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.

At a news conference Friday morning at the Public Safety Building, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois Jim Lewis said the amount of meth was “significant” and the arrests would have an effect on the amount of the drug available in the county and area.

“This came about as a result of good law enforcement work,” he said.

The arrests are part of an “ongoing cooperative and coordinated effort known as ‘Operation Saddle-Up.’” Lewis said the operation has led to the arrests of 50 or more individuals throughout the region. Some of the cases have resulted in life sentences.

The defendants, named in a federal indictment unsealed Thursday, are charged with a single count of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine. Arrested were Scot W. Pence, 35, of Monmouth; William L. Marshall, 33, in Department of Corrections custody; Sean E. Moore, 30, also in the DOC; Leslie K. Montgomery, 33, of Monmouth; Megan R. Kemmitt, 32, of Monmouth; April A. Rice, 29, of Galesburg; and Brian E. Brentise, 48, of Abingdon. Also indicted but not arrested yet was Leslie O. Morrison, 51, last known address Galesburg.

The indictment, returned last month but sealed pending the defendants’ arrests, alleges that beginning in early 2009 and continuing to the present, the defendants conspired together and with others to manufacture and distribute more than 500 grams of meth.

The defendants charged were arrested Thursday and are scheduled to appear Friday afternoon in federal court in Peoria before U.S. Magistrate Judge John A. Gorman.

The defendants face a statutory minimum of 10 years to life in prison if convicted. If a defendant has one prior felony drug conviction, the mandatory minimum is enhanced to 20 years to life. Two or more previous felony convictions carries a mandatory life sentence without parole if convicted.

Lewis said the operation crossed many jurisdictional boundaries as the conspirators allegedly tried to conceal their purchases of precursors used in the production. He said the operation was “very mobile” and used “multiple methods” of manufacturing the drug.

A number of area law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation including the Monmouth Police Department, Warrren County Sheriff’s Department, Warren County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Galesburg Police Department, the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, the Illinois State Police, West Central Illinois Task Force and the Multi-County Narcotic Enforcement Group. Lewis said no single act or tip led to the arrests, rather a coordinated effort between the agencies led to uncovering the alleged conspiracy. The U.S. Marshals Service assisted in making the arrests.

Officials at Friday’s news conference said some of the names involved were “very familiar” to them and they “weren’t surprised” to see them again.

“I think it will be huge,” Warren County State’s Attorney Chip Algren said about the impact the arrests will have on the availability of the drug locally.

“These are significant players in this county and the adjoining county (Knox),” Lewis said.

 

 

 

http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1425378382/8-area-residents-facing-meth-conspiracy-charge

 

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