BLOOMINGTON -- A LeRoy man sentenced to four years in prison for his role in a major Central Illinois drug ring is unlikely to actually serve a day in prison, according to an agreement with the Illinois attorney general's office.
Thomas Misch, 36, one of 16 defendants in the 2007 Operation Pyramid drug investigation, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two drug-related counts. According to Assistant Attorney General Delores Hurley, Misch admitted to handling funds, building a customer base and transporting cocaine for the operation that spanned DeWitt, McLean, Ford, Champaign and Vermilion counties.
After the sentence was imposed by Judge Charles Reynard, defense lawyer Thomas Bruno noted that Misch would report to the Hillsboro Correctional Center on Jan. 24, where prison staff would calculate the pretrial detention credit for 1,080 days, under the terms of an agreement with the state. With day-for-day credit awarded by the state prison system, Misch has served more than enough time behind bars to cover the sentence.
"We anticipate he will not spend the night there," Bruno said of the trip to prison.
After the hearing, Hurley explained the arrangement to allow Misch to bypass the normal transportation process that normally involves a wait in the county jail for the trip to a Department of Corrections reception center where paperwork would be completed before release.
"There were some unique circumstances here that I can't discuss," said Hurley.
The apparent shortcut to freedom was termed "extremely rare" by the prosecutor who said she is satisfied with the outcome of the case.
"It's fair," Hurley said of the sentence.
Others sentenced in Operation Pyramid did not fair as favorably as Misch.
Devon Thomas, the Indiana man identified as the leader of the drug ring, is serving life in prison on federal drug charges related to the case. Lord Ford of LeRoy received a 20-year sentence in 2007 and Kimberly Andres of Farmer City received a 13-year sentence in 2008.
Misch also must pay a $20,000 street value fine and other court fines and fees. He will receive $5,400 in pre-trial detention credit for the time he served in jail that will be applied along with $30,000 bond toward his financial obligations.
He also must serve two years mandatory supervised release, formerly known as parole.