(Heartland Newsfeed) — According to the Department of Justice and United States Attorney for Illinois’s Central District John E. Childress, 40 year old Nathaniel Stone, 32 year old Jeremie Stone, and 27 year old Amber R. Davis were arrested on Wednesday and made their initial appearances in federal court on Friday, June 22, after a federal criminal complaint was filed charging all three with alleged possession of, as well as conspiracy and intent to distribute, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Also, as a registered felon, Nathaniel Stone has been charged in the federal complaint with alleged possession of a firearm during the act of, and in furtherance of, a drug trafficking crime.
The charges are a result of a joint ongoing investigation with the Jacksonville Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Central Illinois Enforcement Group [or CIEG Unit], the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. According to the United States Department of Justice, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Z. Weir is prosecuting the case, which will be presided over by U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Hankins.
The filing of the complaint doesn’t necessarily result in a trial. After their arrest, the appearance in court on the June 22 date was mandatory according to the federal process. The process requires a demonstration of evidence by the federal government on three levels beginning with this preliminary hearing. Davis was released on her own recognizance after the hearing. Jeremie Stone waived detention and preliminary hearings and stayed in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, according to the DOJ. The complaint only lasts for 30 days. If the Government has not officially indicted either of the Stone men within that time frame, both would be released and the charges nullified. The Department of Justice wants to remind the public that these apparent charges are only accusations; each defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
These alleged charges carry potentially very lengthy prison sentences if the local residents are convicted. If found guilty and convicted of the offenses of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, the statutory penalty is 10 years to life in prison. And for Nathaniel Stone, the penalty for possession of a firearm during and in furtherance to a drug trafficking offense is a mandatory minimum of five years in prison to be served consecutive to any sentence ordered for the related drug offense. Also, the charges of possession of a firearm by a felon carries statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The three residence will appear again in federal court on Wednesday, June 27 to determine indictment on the complaint.
Blake Schnitker of WLDS-WEAI 107.1FM Jacksonville, Illinois is credited with the initial report on these charges.
Cox is a broadcast media and journalism veteran currently working as news director for WLDS/WEAI in Jacksonville, Ill. He is also chairman of the Morgan County Libertarian Party.