Normal, Illinois, Woman Pleads Guilty to Illegally Purchasing Firearm Used to Shoot and Kill Champaign Police Officer
PEORIA, Ill. – A Peoria, Illinois, man, Harold U. McGhee, 48, formerly of the 700 block of East LaSalle Street, was sentenced on March 21, 2023, to a total sentence of 35 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for the following offenses:
At the sentencing hearing before Senior U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm, the United States summarized the evidence from McGhee’s trial, which resulted in a guilty verdict on all counts in December 2022. Law enforcement officers obtained a search warrant in February 2022 for McGhee’s house, car, cell phones, and his person. In the dining room of the house, officers found three bags of crack cocaine totaling 177 grams, a bag containing 60 grams of powder cocaine, a digital scale, sandwich bags, and plastic gloves. In a kitchen cabinet, officers found 442 grams of methamphetamine; 40 grams of a substance containing heroin, fentanyl, and Xylazine; and another digital scale. In McGhee’s living room, officers found $6,770 in cash. In McGhee’s basement, officers found other tools of the drug trade like blenders, a cocaine press, and a vacuum sealer. Under McGhee’s bed, officers found a loaded Glock 9 mm handgun with an extended magazine. The gun had been reported stolen in Evansville, Indiana, in 2019. McGhee admitted that the drugs in the house were his. He also admitted that the gun belonged to him and that he received it as payment for two or three grams of heroin that he sold to someone around February 2021.
At the time of his arrest, McGhee was on federal supervised release for a 2016 conviction for conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute. He has multiple other prior felony convictions, including for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and aggravated battery. McGhee has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest on February 14, 2022.
McGhee faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and up to life in prison. Each of the counts individually carried the following possible penalties:
The case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Peoria Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration – Springfield Resident Office, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Keith Hollingshead-Cook and Ronald L. Hanna represented the United States in the prosecution.