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Press Release

Springfield, Illinois, Man Sentenced to Twenty Years for Drug Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A Springfield, Illinois, man, Denziel Witherspoon, 32, was sentenced on February 15, 2024, by Senior U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough to twenty years in prison to be followed by ten years of supervised release, for his role in a wide-spread drug conspiracy lasting from approximately May of 2020 through November of 2020.

At the sentencing hearing, Witherspoon was held accountable for 72,000 grams of methamphetamine, 12,000 grams of heroin, 6,000 grams of fentanyl, and 5,129.1 grams of marijuana. During the hearing, Judge Myerscough noted that the amount of drugs Witherspoon was responsible for was the most she had seen during her judicial career.

Co-defendants in the case have received the following sentences James Cooper, 180 months; Isadore Montgomery, 120 months; Rashaud Brown, 84 months; Paul Davis, 40 months; and Taylor Cockrell, 36 months.  

Charges remain pending against Derrick Bailey, Lavar Maney, Dorothy Jackson, Christopher Wallace, Haley Riley, Haylee Vaughn, and Shelton Witherspoon. Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Witherspoon was indicted on December 15, 2020, and pleaded guilty on February 9, 2023. He has remained in the custody of the United States Marshal since his arrest.  

The statutory penalties for the most serious charge Witherspoon was convicted of include, 15 years to life imprisonment, up to a $20,000,000 fine, and up to a life term of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office, Illinois State Police, and Springfield Police Department Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Z. Weir represented the government in the prosecution.

The case against Witherspoon was part of an investigation of the Springfield based Boss Playas street gang and was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Updated February 16, 2024

Drug Trafficking