PEORIA -- Fifteen of 16 suspects arrested in an April drug raid were indicted Wednesday in federal court on charges that could send them to prison for life.
Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities said "Operation Prairie Eagle" disrupted a major marijuana and cocaine smuggling operation with ties to California.
Indictments were returned by a federal grand jury in Peoria charging conspiracy to distribute and possession to distribute crack cocaine against Eric M. Cheek, 36, Cicero; and Brandon Williams, 27; Antonio Seymon, 28; and Tabitha C. Harris, 37, all of Bloomington.
Accused in indictments of conspiring with Cheek to distribute marijuana are Langston Pates, 28; Andra Pace, 37; Matthew B. Bell, 28; and Reginald Dunson, 30, all of Bloomington. Charged with distribution and possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine are Eric L. Hodo, 34, and Hollis C. Vanleer, 25, both of Normal.
Deangelo Johnson, 34; Timothy Henderson, 40; and Darnell Baker, 24, all of Bloomington, and Tyrell Binion, 28, of Normal, are charged with conspiring with Hodo to distribute cocaine. Corey Eason, 32, of Normal, was indicted on possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine charges.
No arraignment date has been set for the defendants who, with the exception of Harris, remain in federal custody.
Victoria N. Williams, 27, address unavailable, was arrested in April but not indicted. She faces drug conspiracy charges.
Affidavits presented in federal court allege that starting in 2001, Cheek conspired with other suspects to supply drugs to central Illinois by using a network of runners to bring drug s from Chicago and collect drug money.