On July 13, federal prosecutors in Illinois announced that six men are facing federal drug charges for allegedly operating a cocaine and heroin trafficking ring in Rockford. Two of the defendants were previously acquitted in the shooting death of a child.

According to authorities, five of the defendants, who range in age from 33 to 55, have been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin. The sixth defendant, age 37, reportedly supplied drugs to the others when their inventory was running low. He also allegedly acted as a drug-trafficking mentor to one of the other defendants.

In April 2002, two of the defendants and another man were convicted of first-degree murder in Winnebago County for the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old boy. However, more than 10 years later, all three men were released from prison.

Felony drug charges carry very harsh penalties. Defendants convicted on drug trafficking charges are often sentenced to decades in prison and assessed heavy fines. If they are released, they are left with a permanent criminal record, which can hinder future efforts to gain employment. However, with the help of a criminal defense attorney, a defendant may be able to obtain a more positive outcome. An attorney could check to see if police officers violated a defendant’s rights during the investigation. If so, the case could be dismissed. Legal counsel could also challenge the admissibility of any evidence introduced, which could lead to an acquittal if successful.

Source: RR Star, “6 charged in drug-trafficking ring, including 2 previously acquitted in child’s fatal shooting“, Kristen Zambo, July 13, 2018