Feds break up meth operation arresting 11

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 11, 2005, 1:16pm

Eleven southern Illinois men and women were indicted on charges of producing and distributing methamphetamine in Wayne and White counties for nearly 10 years by U.S. District Attorney Ronald Tenpas.

A pre-dawn arrest on July 8 charged the following: from Fairfield were William Shelton, 41; Judy Ewing 61; Eugenia Downs, 39; Kevin Garrett, 39; and Michael Scott McDannel, 34. Also arrested were Thomas W. Cramer, 33, of Golden Gate, Leslie McKitrick, 36, and Russel Pragit, 39; of Mill Shoals, and Stewart Poore, 43, of McLeansboro.

Also indicted but currently serving sentences in state prison were Kevin Gill, 28, of Fairfield, and Eric Masterson, 35, of Burnt Prairie.

The charges claim the meth operation existed from the summer of 1995 until June of 2004 in Wayne County, White County and in other parts of southern Illinois.

If convicted by a jury, all defendants face a minimum of 10 years imprisonment up to life imprisonment, a $4 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release. 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.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Leggans, and James Cutchin.

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