PEORIA, Ill. – A Peoria, Illinois man, Christopher R. Williams, Jr., also known as “Black”, 31, of the 2100 block of West Starr Street, was sentenced last week to a total of 360 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for his role in a conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine.
During a two-day sentencing hearing held on November 7th and 8th before US District Judge James E. Shadid, the government presented evidence that Williams was a large-scale dealer of ice methamphetamine throughout the greater Peoria area. Evidence established that Williams was a top-tier, primary source for other wholesale drug dealers in central Illinois whose extensive customer base included Peoria, Tazewell, Fulton, and Henry counties. Judge Shadid also heard evidence that Williams was the source of a supply of narcotics responsible for the overdose deaths of three individuals in Peoria and Tazewell Counties.
At the hearing, Judge Shadid found Williams sought and carried firearms during the course of his drug conspiracy and, further, used threats of violence to collect drug monies. Judge Shadid further determined Williams did not sell drugs to support a substance abuse habit but, rather, for his own financial gain. In total, Williams was held responsible for trafficking over 48 kilograms of ice methamphetamine from November 2018 up to his arrest on August 11, 2021. Judge Shadid commented that Williams controlled a network of drug dealers and that he contributed to the harm, destruction, and drug-related deaths in the community, noting the evidence showed some of the ice methamphetamine Williams dealt was laced with deadly fentanyl.
“Thanks to the steady efforts of all law enforcement involved, Williams can no longer prey on and profit from the addictions of others,” said Assistant US Attorney Katherine G. Legge. “Methamphetamine is highly addictive and leaves a path of destruction. Many of those working under Williams lost their jobs, families, homes, and a significant portion of their life thanks to their entangled addiction with ice methamphetamine; meanwhile, Williams was profiting mightily. Our commitment to disrupting those at the top, like Williams, will continue.”
“One of our area’s most prolific drug dealers has been stopped due to the dedication and efforts not only of the Pekin Police Department but also our partnerships with all the agencies involved,” said Pekin Police Department Chief John Dossey. “Williams inexcusably preyed on our vulnerable for his own personal gain. We are grateful for the solid work and team effort that resulted in a high-level dealer trafficking in dangerous and sometimes deadly drugs receiving a substantial prison sentence.”
Williams was indicted in July 2021 and entered a guilty plea in May 2022. Count 1 charged conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of methamphetamine. Counts 2 and 3 each charged distribution of 5 grams or more of methamphetamine (actual), and Count 4 charged distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine (actual).
The statutory penalties for Counts 1 and 4 were 10 years to life imprisonment, followed by five-year to life terms of supervised release. The penalties for Counts 2 and 3 were five to 40 years imprisonment, followed by four-year to life terms of supervised release.
Williams has remained in the custody of the US Marshals Service since his arrest in August 2021.
The extensive investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Springfield Resident Office, with critical efforts provided by Pekin Police Department and Peoria Metropolitan Enforcement Group (PMEG). Also assisting in the investigation were the Peoria Police Department, Illinois State Police, Blackhawk Area Task Force, and Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant US Attorney Katherine G. Legge represented the government in the prosecution, with assistance from the Tazewell County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The case against Williams is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF)’s 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.