Girard Man Sentenced to 180 Months in Prison for Distributing Methamphetamine and Possessing A Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking
PEORIA, Ill. – A Peoria, Illinois, man, Dante Latice Williams, 51, formerly of the 700 block of NE Madison Street, has been sentenced to 262 months in federal prison for armed bank robbery, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. Williams’ girlfriend and accomplice, Irene Belton, pled guilty in January 2022 and was sentenced to 43 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release.
At the sentencing hearing before U.S. District Chief Judge Sara Darrow, the government presented evidence that on February 27, 2019, Belton drove Williams from Peoria to Galesburg in her van, knowing he was planning to rob a bank. The two ultimately picked First Mid Bank and Trust, 101 E. Main Street, Galesburg for their target robbery. Once in Galesburg, Belton experienced mechanical problems with the van, so she parked and waited in the van while Williams proceeded on to First Mid Bank and Trust. Upon arrival, Williams approached the teller counter and then demanded money. During the robbery, Williams was displaying a taser in a threatening manner and, on several occasions, caused the taser to discharge part of its electrical charge. In response to Williams’ threat, the teller handed him more than $2,000. Williams then met up with Belton where they used the ill-gained funds to make small purchases at local stores and restaurants. They were arrested in the parking lot of one of the local restaurants. At the time of their arrest, Belton had most of the stolen money in her purse, and Williams had the purple electrical discharge weapon in his coat. The disguise Williams wore was also located in the vehicle they had driven to Galesburg.
The Government also noted in its arguments that Williams had a long, storied history of convictions, starting with auto thefts at age 15, aggravated battery at age 17, armed robbery (a Class X felony) at the age of 28, and his first bank robbery in 2007 at the age of 36. After several violations, he was placed on supervised release in December 2018, just 3 months prior to the First Mid Bank and Trust robbery.
During the hearing, Judge Darrow commented on the profound impact that Williams actions had on the lives of the tellers he robbed. She also commented on Williams’ significant criminal history including the fact that he was on supervised release for bank robbery when he committed this bank robbery.
Williams originally pled guilty in November 2021, but his sentencing was delayed by a series of unsuccessful motions, an effort that he chose to abandon in December 2022. Williams has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest.
The statutory penalties for armed bank robbery are up to 25 years imprisonment, followed by up to 5 years of supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas McMeyer stated that “this sentence should send a strong message that hurting others—even if only through threats—will not be tolerated.” He further praised the bravery and professionalism of the bank tellers who followed their training and likely prevented violence on that day.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office, The Knox County Sheriff’s Department, and the Galesburg Police investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas F. McMeyer represented the government in the prosecution.