Illinois Ice Meth Dealer Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison
PEORIA, Ill. – Todd C. Smith, Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-Chicago Division, and U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris of the Central District of Illinois announced that Thomas A. Wright, 44, from Pekin, Illinois, was sentenced on Feb. 22, 2022, to 25 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of ice methamphetamine.
At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid found that Wright was a career offender due to his criminal history and that he had trafficked a substantial amount of ice methamphetamine during the conspiracy. Judge Shadid noted that Wright had a poor upbringing but that his actions dealing drugs contributed to a cycle of drug use in the community. Judge Shadid recommended that Wright be housed in a facility with drug treatment capabilities while in the Bureau of Prisons.
Also at the hearing, the government presented evidence that Wright worked with associates to pool money to buy larger quantities of methamphetamine and would redistribute the methamphetamine to a network of customers throughout Peoria and Tazewell Counties. Evidence established that Wright was responsible for trafficking approximately 193 ounces of ice methamphetamine throughout the course of the conspiracy. The government detailed Wright’s criminal history, which included three methamphetamine manufacturing-related convictions in Tazewell County in 2003, 2006, and 2015, each of which involved prison sentences.
Wright was indicted in September 2020, and pleaded guilty in July 2021. Wright has been in the custody of the U.S. Marshals since his arrest in September 2020.
The statutory penalties for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of ice methamphetamine are a minimum term of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum term of life imprisonment, a minimum five-year term of supervised release and a maximum life term of supervised release, and up to a $10,000,000 fine. If committed after a prior qualifying conviction, the minimum statutory sentence is 15 years’ imprisonment, the minimum term of supervised release is 10 years, and a fine up to $20,000,000 may be imposed. If committed after two prior qualifying convictions, the minimum statutory sentence is 25 years’ imprisonment.
“The message is clear: if you choose to make a career of dealing highly addictive, community-wrecking drugs, you will be held accountable,” said Assistant U.S. Katherine G. Legge. “Our steady pursuit of these cases will continue so that we can keep our communities safe from the top drug dealers who peddle this potent substance.”
“Wright was a significant player in the Pekin area as it relates to meth distribution,” said Pekin Police Department Chief John Dossey. “This conviction exemplifies the consolidated efforts of the Pekin Police Department and the DEA where another dealer is removed from our streets. We all know that meth destroys our families and is the root cause of much of the crime we see. We commend these officers and agents for their hard work in making a positive difference within our communities.”
“The sentencing of Mr. Wright reflects the shared commitment toward combating the proliferation of deadly drugs throughout Peoria and surrounding communities,” said DEA ASAC Smith. “The DEA, alongside our local, state and federal law enforcement and prosecution partners, will continue holding accountable those who seek to inflict harm upon Peoria families through the trafficking of illegal and deadly drugs.”
The Pekin Police Department and the DEA investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Legge represented the government in the prosecution.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) National Methamphetamine Strategic Initiative, spearheaded locally out of the Pekin Police Department. The primary goal of this initiative is to address methamphetamine trafficking and its attendant consequences by using a coordinated, multi-agency approach targeting the highest levels of drug trafficking leadership. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.