Local law enforcement officials announced a major sting operation at a press conference Wednesday morning, indicating that they had arrested 11 and indicted 12 Tuesday for a long-term marijuana operation in Knox County.
The men are being charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and according to the indictment filed at the U.S. District Court in Peoria, they allegedly operated from 1992 to 2009 and sold more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
“This was a significant case,” local U.S. District Attorney James Lewis said. “This is an example of genuine teamwork … to serve the community.”
Conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana has a minimum sentence of ten years to life in prison, 20 years to life for those who have a prior felony drug conviction or a life sentence for those with two or more prior convictions.
Lewis made the announcement alongside Knox County Sheriff David Clague, Knox County State’s Attorney John Pepmeyer, Galesburg Police Chief David Christensen and Director of the Multi-county Narcotic Enforcement Group (based in Peoria) Rene Sandoval.
Eleven arrests were carried out Tuesday throughout the region with the help of six law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“It worked out pretty well,” Sandoval said. “A lot of time when we do these roundups, we hope for 100 percent success … and yesterday we did.”
None of the officials at the press conference went into specific details about the case, but Lewis was pressed about legalization.
“What exactly are the dangers of it?” Lewis said. “You’ve got to go to a scientist for that … but in itself and in connection with other things, it can do a lot of damage in a lot of different ways to people.”