The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Springfield announced yesterday that 36-year-old Michael Smith of the 200 block of Howe has been charged in federal court by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine on or about January 16th.
The investigation was conducted jointly between the Jacksonville Police Department, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Illinois Enforcement Group, Illinois State Police and the DEA.
Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens believes this is the largest amount of crack ever seized in the city.
“I’ve talked to state investigators that work this area and have worked it for a number of years and federal investigators as well, and I worked the federal arena for years in this area, and I certainly never recalled a seizure of that amount,” says Grootens.
“And I know the state agents I’ve talked to have never heard of a seizure in that amount being taken in one time. It’s very unusual for us to even get a couple ounces of crack cocaine at one arrest, much less this type of weight.”
He says getting the huge load of drugs off the street helps in law enforcement’s effort to get rid of the drug dealers. He says the feds could add more charges against Smith.
“I think that you will see even higher numbers as far as the amount. That’s just the initial charge,” he says. “Which is commonly done in federal court.”
Smith appeared in court yesterday afternoon in Springfield before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron Cudmore. He was ordered detained in the custody of U.S. Marshals pending detention and a preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday.
If convicted, Smith could be sentenced anywhere between 10 years and life in prison.