EAST ST. LOUIS – Eric Beckley of Centreville, an alleged dealer in a heroin ring that brought former judge Michael Cook to ruin, gained time to negotiate a plea.

Beckley faced a Sept. 9 trial on heroin distribution charges, but Chief U.S. District Judge David Herndon continued it at Beckley’s request on Sept. 3.

Herndon set it for Nov. 4, writing that “to deny a continuance of the matter would result in a miscarriage of justice.”

“The government does not object,” Herndon wrote.

Beckley’s lawyer, Andrew Liefer of Fairview Heights, moved to continue the trial on Aug. 30.

He wrote that Beckley “is actively engaged in negotiations with the government and reasonably anticipates that said negotiations will be fruitful.”

Federal agents arrested Beckley in January, after following suspected drug house operator Deborah Perkins of Fairview Heights to his home.

Grand jurors indicted Perkins, her son Douglas Oliver, and Beckley in February.

Agents arrested Sean McGilvery of Belleville in May as a dealer for Perkins.

They arrested Cook at McGilvery’s house, on charges of possessing heroin.

Perkins pleaded guilty on Aug. 1, stipulating that she purchased heroin for resale by Oliver, McGilvery, Beckley and others.

Oliver pleaded guilty on Aug. 21.

McGilvery faces trial on Sept. 16, before District Judge Michael Reagan.

Cook faced trial on Oct. 1, before District Judge William Stiehl, but Stiehl recused himself on Aug. 28.

As of Sept. 3, Herndon had not reassigned the case.

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