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Press Release

Seven Face Federal Methamphetamine Charges

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

A federal grand jury in Benton, Illinois, has charged seven individuals with methamphetamine related offenses, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Those charged with various methamphetamine offenses are:Daniel E. Pickens, 30, of Wheeler, Illinois; Rachel S. Priest, 37, of Wheeler, Illinois; Justin Pocrnich, 28, of Wheeler, Illinois; Deborah S. Rogers, 47, of Wheeler, Illinois; Kimberly A. Barker (Depositer), 32 of Watson, Illinois; Joshua R. Rodgers, 22, of Hidalgo, Illinois, and Savannah L. Ellis, 20, of Newton, Illinois.

The 26 count indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. All of the defendants are also charged with possession of pseudoephedrine with intent that it be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Defendant Pickens is also charged with maintaining a drug house in Wheeler, Illinois, and with several thefts of anhydrous ammonia.

If convicted, those charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine face 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. Those charged with the other methamphetamine related offenses also face up to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Illinois State Police, Southeastern Illinois Drug Task Force, United States Marshals Service, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office; the Effingham County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and the Jasper County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tom Leggans.

Updated February 19, 2015