Ridgeway Man Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison For Marijuana Offenses
Ryan Earl Bess, 34, of Ridgeway, Illinois, was sentenced today in United States District Court in Benton to a 5 year prison term for conspiring with two other individuals to grow more than 100 marijuana plants, announced Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. Bess, and codefendants Daniel J. Fulkerson and Paul E. Reynolds, were charged by a Federal Grand Jury on September 5, 2012, with one count of conspiring to grow more than 100 marijuana plants and one count of actually growing the plants in Gallatin County between April 2012 and August 29, 2012. Ryan fled Illinois following his indictment and was arrested in Colorado in May 2014. He pled guilty to the charges on October 22nd.
In addition to the 5 year prison sentence, Bess was ordered to pay fines and special assessments totaling $400 to the United States and was placed on a 4 year term of supervised release to follow his incarceration. Following his sentencing, Bess was returned to the custody of the United States Marshal, where has been held without bond since his arrest in Colorado, to await designation to a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility.
Fulkerson and Reynolds also previously pled guilty to the charged offenses and were sentenced to prison terms of 60 months and 120 months, respectively.
The case was investigated by the Carmi office of the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James M. Cutchin.