Five Charged in Meth Conspiracy
Five southern Illinois residents were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 24, 2012, and
charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.
On May 29, 2012, Mitchell R. Owens, 31, of Carbondale, Christopher D. Norris, 30, of
Pittsburg, Robert D. Starcher, 23, of Marion, and Steven A. Smith, 32, of Johnston City, appeared
in federal court in Benton. At a May 31, 2012, hearing, Owens, Norris, and Starcher were ordered
held without bond. Smith is being held without bond, pending a June 4, 2012, detention hearing.
One additional co-defendant, Terry C. Zimmerman, of Marion, has not made his initial appearance
in federal court.
The conspiracy offense is alleged to have occurred between 2010, and January, 2012, in
Williamson, Jackson, and Franklin Counties. The offense carries a penalty of a term in prison from
5-40 years, a fine of not more than $5 million, and a term of supervised release of at least 4 years.
Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proven guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Murphysboro Police Department, Marion
Police Department, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, and Illinois State Police.
The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.