News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2009
Contact: Thomas E. Murphy
(314) 538-4660

Arizona Couple Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana

APR 16 -- (EAST ST. LOUIS, IL) - A. Courtney Cox, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that on April 10, 2009, Jim Paul STEENKEN and Sharon STEENKEN , both age 50, of Tucson, Arizona, entered a plea of guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment, charging conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

The STEENKENS along with 8 others were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in July 2008 with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The STEENKENs stipulated that they agreed to transport $395,940 in drug proceeds from East St. Louis, Illinois, to Arizona for cash. The vehicle driven by STEENKENS was stopped by St. Charles County, Missouri police officers on December 13, 2007, and the $395,940 in drug proceeds were recovered from a hidden compartment in their vehicle.

The offense charged carries with it a penalty of a term of imprisonment of 5 to 40 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $2 million dollars, or both, and a term of supervised release of at least four (4) years. The STEENKENS both face a mandatory sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment. Sentencing is scheduled for July 17, 2009, in East St. Louis, Illinois.

The investigation was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Participating agencies included the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel T. Kapsak.