Illinois Man Convicted of Drugs, Weapons Offenses
PEORIA, Ill. – Todd C. Smith, Assistant Special Agent in Charge at Drug Enforcement Administration-Chicago Division, and U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris of the Central District of Illinois announced that a federal jury returned guilty verdicts on Dec. 1, 2022, against Harold U. McGhee, 48, of Peoria, Illinois, for the following offenses:
- Count 1: Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine
- Count 2: Possession with Intent to Distribute 28 Grams or More of a Mixture or Substance Containing Cocaine Base
- Count 3: Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine
- Count 4: Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin
- Count 5: Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl
- Count 6: Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking
- Count 7: Felon in Possession of a Firearm
- Count 8: Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking
Sentencing for McGhee has been scheduled for March 15, 2023, at the U.S. Courthouse in Peoria.
During the jury trial before U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm, the United States presented evidence that officers obtained a search warrant in February 2022 for McGhee’s house, car, cell phones, and his person. In the dining room of the house, officers found three bags of crack cocaine totaling 177 grams, a bag containing 60 grams of powder cocaine, a digital scale, sandwich bags, and plastic gloves. In a kitchen cabinet, officers found 442 grams of methamphetamine; 40 grams of a substance containing heroin, fentanyl, and Xylazine; and another digital scale.
In McGhee’s living room, officers found $6,770 in cash. In McGhee’s basement, officers found other tools of the drug trade like blenders, a cocaine press, and a vacuum sealer. Under McGhee’s bed, officers found a loaded Glock 9 mm handgun with an extended magazine. The gun had been reported stolen in Evansville, Indiana, in 2019. McGhee admitted that the drugs in the house were his. He also admitted that the gun belonged to him and that he received it as payment for two or three grams of heroin that he sold to someone in about February 2021.
At the time of his arrest, McGhee was on federal supervised release for a 2016 conviction for conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute. He has multiple other prior felony convictions, including for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and aggravated battery.
McGhee remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
In aggregate, McGhee faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and up to life in prison. Each of the counts individually carries the following possible penalties:
- Count 1: 10 years to life imprisonment; up to a $250,000 fine; and a five-year to life term of supervised release.
- Count 2: Five to 40 years’ imprisonment; up to a $250,000 fine; and a four-year to life term of supervised release
- Counts 3-5: Up to 20 years’ imprisonment; up to a $250,000 fine; and a three-year to life term of supervised release
- Counts 6, 8: Not less than five years’ imprisonment for each count, consecutive to all other counts; maximum fine of $2 million; and not less than a five-year term of supervised release
- Count 7: 15 years to life imprisonment; up to a $250,000 fine and up to a three-year term of supervised release
The case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Peoria Police Department and DEA – Springfield Resident Office, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Keith Hollingshead-Cook and Ronald L. Hanna represent the United States in the prosecution.