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Law enforcement officials round up 17 in methamphetamine ring in southern Illinois

January 16, 2013

Online Staff Report

BENTON, Ill. — Law enforcement officials announced a federal grand jury has indicted 17 individuals on charges of providing pseudoephedrine pills to methamphetamine manufacturers. The offenders charged face up to 20 years imprisonment and $250,000 in fines.

The case will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Illinois.

In March 2012, authorities arrested 26 defendants in Franklin County and Williamson County linked, in part, to the same drug conspiracy. The 17 defendants were arrested Jan. 15, and the investigation continues.

The case was investigated by the Illinois State Police (ISP), Southern Illinois Drug Task Force and the ISP Methamphetamine Response Team with assistance from United States Marshals Service, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Benton Police Department, Royalton Police Department, West City Police Department, Williamson County State’s Attorney’s Office, Franklin County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Jackson County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The Illinois State Police has dedicated dozens of trained officers to work with area task forces and investigate methamphetamine-related activity,” said ISP Zone 7 Captain Scott Rice. “Pooling resources with our partners in local and federal law enforcement is critical in investigating criminal activity and impacting the methamphetamine problem in southern Illinois.”

A law that became effective in 2012 introduced a pilot program aimed at tracking pseudoephedrine purchases a permanent process. The program, which took effect in 2009 following the introduction of the Methamphetamine Precursor Tracking Act, requires pharmacies to track purchases of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine online at The National Precursor Log Exchange. Pharmacies are also required to block purchases of more than 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine made within 30 days and 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine in a 24-hour time-span.

The following were arrested: Dennis Bowen, 40, of Johnston City, Ill.; Bridgett L. Garrington, 29, of Johnston City, Ill.; Dana L. Gulley, 40, of Herrin, Ill.; Dustin J. Gulley, 22, of Herrin, Ill.; Sherri Gunter-Perkins, 40, of West Frankfort, Ill.; Casey Heath, 24, of Herrin, Ill.; Dawn Jacobsen, 37, of Carbondale, Ill.; Karla Jones, 31, of Herrin, Ill.; Doyle Massengill, 53, of Herrin, Ill.; Stephanie Patrick, 22, of Elkville, Ill.; Keith Pichelman, 24, of Carbondale, Ill.; Richard Robinson, 45, of Herrin, Ill.; Amber Scro-Cardwell, 28, of West Frankfort, Ill.; Robin Sides, 27, of Herrin, Ill.; Eric Smothers, 52, of Herrin, Ill.; Mary Smothers, 45, of Herrin, Ill.; and Julie Woolum, 37, of Benton, Ill.

An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.

Posted Jan. 16, 2013

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