URBANA, Ill. – A federal jury returned a guilty verdict on June 8, 2023, against an Urbana, Illinois, man, Phoutasone Champanine, 37, of Ivanhoe Drive, for conspiracy to possess fifty grams or more of methamphetamine (actual) with intent to distribute, maintaining a drug-involved premises, and possessing a firearm as a felon. Sentencing for Champanine has been scheduled for October 13, 2023, at the U.S. Courthouse in Urbana.
Over two days of testimony, the government presented evidence to establish that Champanine, a felon with multiple prior drug convictions, was dealing in pounds of methamphetamine in the Champaign-Urbana area. Further, investigators with the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force found several firearms and multiple calibers of ammunition in Champanine’s storage unit in Savoy, Illinois.
The investigators subsequently obtained a search warrant for Champanine’s home. During the execution of the warrant, agents found Champanine on the front porch of the home with eight pounds of methamphetamine in a bag on his shoulder. A further search of Champanine’s home revealed another pound of methamphetamine, two more firearms, and ammunition.
Champanine remains in the custody of the United States Marshal Service. At sentencing, Champanine faces statutory penalties of ten years to life imprisonment, up to a $10,000,000 fine, and a maximum life term of supervised release for the conspiracy conviction. He faces up to twenty years of imprisonment, up to a $500,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release for maintaining a drug-involved premises. Finally, he faces up to ten years of imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release for possessing a firearm as a felon.
The case investigation was conducted by the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional group composed of officers from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, the Champaign Police Department, the Urbana Police Department, and the University of Illinois Police Department, with assistance provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office; Drug Enforcement Administration; and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Sullivan and William J. Lynch represented the government at trial.
The case against Champanine is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.