Rockford man gets 26 years for running drug-trafficking operation
Online Staff Report
Steven T. McDowell, 38, of Rockford, has been sentenced to more than 26 years (315 months) in prison for leading an illegal drug-trafficking operation.
McDowell, who was sentenced Feb. 7, was convicted in June 2012 of one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and six counts of distribution of heroin. McDowell faces five years of supervised release in addition to serving 315 months in prison.
McDowell, according to an indictment, led an illegal drug-trafficking ring in Rockford that began in April 2010 and continued through December of that year. During that time, conspirators obtained large amounts of heroin in Chicago and transported it to Rockford, where they diluted it, packaged it for individual use and then grouped it into packs.
Runners were used to distribute street-level quantities at various locations throughout the Rockford area. McDowell and others involved in the ring rented cars to deliver heroin to their dealers and cell phones to tell runners where to go to deliver the drug. Some co-conspirators in the operation used or had guns for protection.
Jeremy Cooper, 24, and Robert Presley, 33, both of Chicago, were convicted in June 2012 for their role in the operation.
Cooper was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute at least 1 gram of heroin, three counts of distribution of heroin, one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years (270 months) in prison and five years of supervised release in September 2012.
Presley was convicted of conspiracy to distribute at least 1 kilogram of heroin, one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He awaits sentencing.
Murray Steve Harris Jr., 36, of Chicago, and Norman Breedlove, 47, of Rockford, also pled guilty to their involvement in the operation.
Harris Jr. pled guilty in January to conspiracy to distribute at least 1 kilogram of heroin. He was sentenced to more than 10 years (130 months) in prison and five years of supervised release in April 2012.
Breedlove pled guilty in May 2012 to one count of conspiracy to distribute at least 1 kilogram of heroin and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He awaits sentencing.
Posted Feb. 8, 2013
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