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Grand Jury Returns Superseding Indictment Charging Carlinville Couple with Conspiracy to Manufacture and Distribute Methamphetamine

January 4, 2007

Springfield, Ill. – Rodger A. Heaton, United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, announced that a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment today charging James J. Denby, Jr., age 44, and Jessica L. Rabich, 23, both of 11490 Liberty Church Lane, Carlinville, Illinois, with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine. The indictment further charges both Denby and Rabich with possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of meth and possession with intent to distribute 50 or more grams of meth.

The superseding indictment further charges Denby with attempting to transport stolen anhydrous ammonia and maintaining a place to manufacture methamphetamine. Rabich is charged with attempting to kill a witness; attempting to retaliate against an informant; and, solicitation to commit a violent crime.

Denby was arrested on November 14, 2006, and charged in a federal criminal complaint. He was indicted in December 2006 and charged with a single count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Rabich was arrested on January 3, 2007, and charged in a criminal complaint with tampering with a witness and retaliating against a witness.

Both defendants have been ordered detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial. Arraignment for the defendants on the indictment will be scheduled by the U.S. Clerk of the Court.

The indictment alleges Denby and Rabich conspired together and with others to manufacture and distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine beginning in or before the spring 2004 to mid-November 2006. Alleged acts by Denby, Rabich, and others to further the conspiracy include Denby and Rabich’s purchase of cold pills containing pseudoephedrine; cold pills containing pseudoephedrine provided to Denby by others; anhydrous ammonia provided by Denby to others to make meth; and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. The indictment alleges Denby traveled from Macoupin county to Perry county, Missouri on May 4, 2005, to steal anhydrous ammonia that he intended to transport to Macoupin county for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.

The indictment charges Rabich with three offenses related to her alleged attempts on December 29, 2006, to kill a witness; retaliate against an informant; and solicitation to commit a crime of violence.

According to the affidavits filed in support of the complaints against Denby and Rabich, law enforcement officers with the South Central Illinois Drug Task Force were notified on November 13, 2006, of a strong odor of anhydrous ammonia coming from the residence at 11490 Liberty Church Lane in Carlinville. During execution of a state search warrant of the property on November 14, 2006, officers recovered various amounts of substances containing methamphetamine as well as various items commonly used in the manufacture of meth including glassware, Drain-O, salt, plastic tubing, pseudoephedrine tablets and a container which tested positive for the presence of anhydrous ammonia.

The affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint against Rabich further alleges that on December 27, 2006, task force agents were advised that Rabich had offered to pay $500 per knee cap for someone to injure a potential case witness. On December 29, 2006, an informant and undercover officer met with Rabich in a vehicle at a fast-food restaurant parking lot in Carlinville. During the meeting, the affidavit alleges Rabich offered to pay the agent $500 to kill the individual who had complained to law enforcement about the smell of anhydrous ammonia on Denby’s property. Rabich allegedly paid the undercover agent $40 for gasoline that day and was subsequently arrested.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Illinois State Police and the South Central Illinois Drug Task Force are investigating the case which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris.

If convicted, the statutory penalties for the offenses charged are as follows: for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine, mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison; possession with intent to distribute five or more grams of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute 50 or more grams of a substance containing meth, mandatory minimum five years to 40 years in prison; attempt to kill a witness, and attempt to retaliate against an informant, up to 20 years in prison; solicitation to commit a violent crime, up to 10 years imprisonment; maintaining a place to manufacture methamphetamine, up to 20 years in prison; and attempting to transport stolen anhydrous ammonia, up to four years in prison.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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