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Henry County Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Six-Year Methamphetamine Manufacturing Conspiracy. Four Others Sentenced for Their Role in Conspiracy

May 18, 2011

Rock Island, Ill. – Five Henry County men have been sentenced to prison terms for their respective roles in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess methamphetamine. During hearings in Rock Island on Friday, May 20, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm sentenced the men as follows:

  • Les E. Gillespie, 36, of Kewanee, sentenced to life in prison;
  • Justin W. Collins, 31, of Kewanee, sentenced to 151 months (12 years, 7 months);
  • Jeremy T. Payne, 31, of Galva, sentenced to 94 months (7 years, 10 months);
  • Steven Paul Nichols, 62, of Kewanee, sentenced to 127 months (10 years, 7 months); and,
  • John A. Puskar, 31, of Kewanee, sentenced to 160 months (13 years, 4 months).

Payne and Puskar were ordered to surrender on July 12 to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving their prison terms; Gillespie, Collins and Nichols were remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Two other defendants, Bradley A. Lain, 33, of Kewanee, and Nicholas W. Ogorzalek, 26, also of Kewanee, have entered pleas of guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced on June 24 and August 19 respectively.

The seven co-defendants previously entered pleas of guilty to their respective participation in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine in Henry County, Illinois from September 2004 to July 27, 2010.

The case was investigated by the Illinois State Police Blackhawk Area Task Force and Zone 2 Meth Response Team; Kewanee Police Department, Henry County Sheriff’s Office; Bureau County Sheriff’s Office; and the Drug Enforcement Administration in cooperation with the Henry County State’s Attorney’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara L. Darrow.

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