News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2008
Contact: Thomas E. Murphy
Number: (314) 538-4660

Guilty Pleas In Fayette County Methamphetamine Case

OCT 27 -- (East St. Louis, IL) - A. Courtney Cox, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on October 23, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis, Illinois, Thomas E. WILKERSON, age 47, of Shobonier, Illinois, David M. FICKES, age 40, of Effingham, Illinois, Billy D. YORK, age 50, of Vandalia, Illinois, and Wesley Dean CONNER, age 44, of Vandalia, Illinois, each pleaded guilty to Count 1 of a Superseding Indictment charging them with Conspiracy to Manufacture, Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute 500 grams or more of Methamphetamine.

The statutory penalty applicable to WILKERSON and FICKES is not less than 20 years imprisonment up to life imprisonment, up to an $8 million fine, and a term of supervised release of not less than 10 years. The statutory penalty applicable to YORK is not less than 10 years imprisonment up to life imprisonment, up to a $4 million fine, and a term of supervised release of not less than 5 years. The statutory penalty applicable to CONNER is not less than 5 years imprisonment up to 40 years imprisonment, up to a $2 million fine, and a term of supervised release of not less than 4 years.

WILKERSON also pleaded guilty to Count 2 of the Indictment which charged him with Possession of Products with the Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine, the offense occurring on November 5, 2006, in Fayette County. Count 2 carries a statutory penalty of not more than 20 years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than 3 years. Sentencing is scheduled for all defendants for February 20, 2009, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

According to the Superseding Indictment and to other court documents, the conspiracy operated in and around Fayette, Clinton, and Madison Counties, and elsewhere in the Southern District of Illinois, from approximately May 2004 through November 2006.

This investigation into methamphetamine manufacturing activity was primarily conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, and was conducted in cooperation with Fayette County State’s Attorney Stephen Friedel. The investigation was conducted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods DRAGUN Team Initiative, a cooperative effort of local, state and federal law enforcement, and state and federal prosecuting authorities, aimed at ridding communities of illegal drugs and guns.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kit Morrissey.