News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2007
DEA Contact: Thomas E. Murphy
(314) 538-4660

Gallatin County Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Role
in Methamphetamine Manufacturing Conspiracy

DEC 5 --East St. Louis, IL - Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Randy G. Masseyannounced that MICHAEL W. ZOPH, age 23, of Shawneetown, Illinois, was sentenced in United States District Court in East St. Louis to a term of 240 months imprisonment for his role in a methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution conspiracy centered in Gallatin County. A Federal Grand Jury sitting in Benton charged ZOPH with the conspiracy offense on April 19, 2007. ZOPH had pled guilty to that charge on August 2, 2007.

Evidence supporting the guilty plea and sentence showed that ZOPH was involved with numerous other individuals between 2000 and 2005 in the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine in and around Gallatin County in Illinois and in Western Kentucky. ZOPH’s particular role in the conspiracy was to steal anhydrous ammonia, a necessary ingredient in the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine, from various farms or farm supply businesses. In return, ZOPH received a portion of the methamphetamine produced with the anhydrous he stole.

In addition to the 20 year term of imprisonment, ZOPH was ordered to pay the United States a fine and special assessment totaling $1100 and was placed on a term of 10 years supervised release to follow his incarceration. Parole has been abolished in the federal system meaning that ZOPH will be required to serve at least 85% of the term of imprisonment imposed.

The investigation leading to the conviction and sentence was led by the Carmi office of the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force with the assistance of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Illinois State Police, the Shawneetown Police Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department, the and Gallatin County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James M. Cutchin