Rantoul Man Convicted of Crack Cocaine Offense
Urbana, Ill. – A federal jury yesterday convicted Howard Baker, 28, of Rantoul, Illinois, of possession of five grams or more of cocaine base “crack” with the intent to distribute.
Jurors began hearing evidence in the trial on Monday, November 2, 2009, and deliberated nearly 1 ½ hours before returning the guilty verdict Tuesday afternoon. The government presented evidence that on July 24, 2009, Baker was apprehended by patrol officers with the Champaign Police Department in the 200 block of East Hill Street following a foot chase. Police recovered 25.2 grams of crack cocaine that Baker discarded while fleeing from police.
Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey scheduled sentencing for Baker on February 16, 2010 at 2:30 p.m. in Urbana. At sentencing, Baker faces a minimum 30 years to life in prison because of two prior convictions for delivery of a controlled substance.
Baker has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest on the charges in July.
The investigation was conducted by the Champaign Police Department Patrol Division, with assistance from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office’s Street Crimes Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronda Holliman Coleman.
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