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Grand Jury Indicts 15 Defendants In “Operation Prairie Eagle” Investigation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2011

Peoria, Ill. – A federal grand jury today returned indictments charging 15 defendants with engaging in drug trafficking in the Bloomington-Normal area. The defendants were previously arrested last month and charged in criminal complaints as a result of a cooperative investigation known as “Operation Prairie Eagle.”

Defendants charged today include:

  • Eric Michael Cheek, a.k.a. “Meatball,” 36, Cicero, Ill.;
  • Brandon Cory Williams, 27, Bloomington;
  • Antonio Dion Seymon, a.k.a. “Bone,” 28, Bloomington;
  • Langston Pates, a.k.a. “LP,” 28, Bloomington;
  • Tabitha Christine Harris, 37, Bloomington;
  • Andra Pace, 37, Bloomington;
  • Matthew Brian Bell, 28, Bloomington;
  • Reginald Dunson, 30, Bloomington;
  • Eric Lee Hodo, a.k.a “Glock,” 34, Normal;
  • Hollis Cortez Vanleer, 25, Normal;
  • Deangelo Johnson, 34, Bloomington;
  • Timothy Henderson, a.k.a. “Pills,” 40, Bloomington;
  • Darnell Baker, 24, Bloomington;
  • Tyrell Binion, a.k.a. “Free,” 28, Normal; and
  • Corey Lamar Eason, a.k.a “Big C,” 32, Normal, Ill.

The grand jury returned five indictments related to the alleged drug trafficking conspiracy: Cheek, Williams, Seymon and Harris are charged in one indictment with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 280 grams of crack cocaine and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, from 2001 to Apr. 5, 2011; another indictment charges Pates, Pace, Bell and Dunson with engaging in a drug trafficking conspiracy with Cheek to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, from 2001 to Apr. 5, 2011; Hodo and Vanleer are charged in another indictment with distribution and possession with intent to distribute more than 280 grams of crack cocaine, from August 2010 to Apr. 5, 2011; Johnson, Henderson, Baker and Binion are charged with conspiring together and with Hodo to distribute more than 28 grams of crack cocaine, from August 2010 to Apr. 5, 2011; and, in another indictment, Eason is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine.

If convicted, Cheek, Williams, Seymon, Harris, Hodo, and Vanleer each face a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years to life in prison. If a defendant has one or more prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory minimum penalty is 20 years to life in prison. With two or more prior felony drug convictions, the statutory penalty is life in prison.

Johnson, Henderson, Baker and Binion, if convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 28 grams of crack cocaine, face a mandatory minimum five years to 40 years in prison; if a defendant has one or more prior felony drug convictions, the penalty is 10 years to life in prison.

If convicted, Pates, Pace, Bell and Dunson, each charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, face a mandatory minimum penalty of five years to 40 years in prison; if a defendant has one or more prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory minimum penalty is 10 years to life in prison.

Eason, if convicted of the offense of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years to life in prison.

Each of the defendants has previously appeared in federal court and all, with the exception of Harris, were ordered to remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. The U.S. Clerk of the Court will schedule a date for arraignment for each defendant.

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

The charges are the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Division, and the Normal Police Department, with assistance provided by the Bloomington Police Department; the McLean County Sheriff’s Office; Illinois State Police Task Force 6; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois.

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