Drug Ring Leader Sentenced to 21+ years in Prison
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A U.S. District judge sentenced a California man to 21 year and 10 months in prison after he admitted to leading a drug conspiracy ring targeting communities in southern Illinois.
Thomas Hines, 33, of Los Angeles, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of money laundering conspiracy. In addition to the prison sentence, Hines will serve five years of supervised release and was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.
"Taking out this methamphetamine trafficking organization is a prime example of DEA's key mission," said Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Rehg, head of Drug Enforcement Administration enforcement operations in southern Illinois. "We investigate the criminal networks causing the most damage to our communities, and meth is particularly prominent in the Midwest, damaging lives in every community. Significant time behind bars for defendants like Thomas Hines is a fine reward to our investigators for their diligent work."
According to court documents, the conspiracy operated from at least January 2020 until January 2021 and trafficked more than an estimated 20 pounds of methamphetamine to southern Illinois.
Hines was the source of supply of methamphetamine for the drug trafficking organization. Seven additional individuals were charged in the indictment and pleaded guilty for their involvement in the conspiracy:
• Nyeshia Anderson, 32, of North Las Vegas, Nevada;
• Corey Hendriex, 39, of Granite City, Illinois;
• Amy Lynch, 42, of Granite City;
• Tamara Peoples, 66, of Granite City;
• Richard Stark, 53, of Hazelwood, Missouri;
• Terrence Thompson, 36, of St. Louis; and
• Terrell Winston, 37, of Florissant, Missouri.
In one instance, Hines and Anderson delivered a suitcase holding nearly 11 kilograms of methamphetamine to Thompson in November 2020. Law enforcement recovered the suitcase while executing a search warrant on Thompson’s residence. To finance the illegal narcotic operation, conspirators utilized CashApp, cashier’s checks, bank transfers and postal money orders—thus resulting in money laundering.
Sentencing hearings for Lynch and Winston are scheduled for November 2023. The remaining conspirators received federal prison sentences ranging from three years, 10 months to Hines' sentence.
DEA led the investigation.
This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.