Four Local Men Charged With Conspiracy To Distribute Heroin
Urbana, Ill. – A September trial date has been set for four local men charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin in Champaign County. Three of the four charged in the indictment have been arrested: Clifford L. Brown, 34, of the 900 block of S. Lierman, Urbana, Ill.; Christopher N. Maze-Moore, 26, of the 300 block of Nelson Court, Champaign; and, Kavurante Derrez Pettigrew, 22, aka ‘Little D,’ of the 1300 block of N. Clock Street, Champaign. The fourth defendant, Daniel J. Hightower, 25, aka ‘Boogie,’ of the 1500 block of Kingsway, Champaign, remains a fugitive.
The indictment was unsealed last week following the arrest and initial appearances of the three defendants in custody before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal. Trial is scheduled on Sept. 23, 2013. Each has been ordered to remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The charges are the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation announced by U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, Central District of Illinois. The DEA task force worked cooperatively with the Champaign Police Department and the Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller is prosecuting the case in the Central District of Illinois, Urbana Division.
The indictment, which charges the defendants with conspiracy to distribute heroin, alleges that from about September 2011 to February 2013, the four defendants conspired to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin. Each defendant also faces an additional count of distribution of heroin.
If convicted, for the offense of conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin, the statutory penalty is a mandatory minimum five years and up 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. For the distribution of heroin, the penalty is up to 20 years in prison if the defendant has no prior felony drug convictions; if the defendant has a prior felony drug conviction, the offense carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
In a separate, but related federal case, Mark M. Brown, 41, of Rantoul, Ill., was arrested and charged in February 2013, with possession of 100 grams or more of heroin with intent to distribute. On Jul. 8, 2013, Brown entered a plea of guilty to the charge, and sentencing is scheduled on Nov. 14, 2013. Brown remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.