News and Press Releases


June 8, 2011

A Centralia, Illinois, man, convicted of distributing crack cocaine, was sentenced to 160 months in federal prison on June 6, 2011, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.

Benjamin E. Meredith, 51, of Centralia, previously pleaded guilty to a two count Indictment returned by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in Benton, Illinois. Count 1 charged that on July 21, 2010, Meredith distributed crack cocaine. Count 2 charged that on September 21, 2010, Meredith distributed crack cocaine. Meredith’s sentence was increased because the District Judge determined that Meredith was a career offender.

“My office will not fail to vigorously prosecute repeat offenders who continue to spread their drug poisons in Southern Illinois,” said United States Attorney Wigginton.

The investigation was conducted by the Centralia Police Department, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, the Joint Narcotics Unit of the Mt. Vernon Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Illinois State Police, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Marion County State’s Attorney’s Office, the United States Secret Service, the United States Marshal Service, and other law enforcement agencies pursuant to their participation in the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a joint and cooperative effort of the United States Attorney’s Office, and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies directed at removing guns and drugs from our communities.

The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney George Norwood.



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