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35 years for teaching.
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Multiple year, multiple agency drug investigation nets arrests

2 years, 11 months ago by Bob Gough

Eleven people included in the indictments with a total 47 counts alleging multiple crimes

A multi-year investigation conducted by the West Central Illinois Task Force has netted multiple indictments that authorities say will cripple a major cocaine distribution operation in the Quincy area.

At a news conference this morning, Adams County State’s Attorney Jon Barnard said the conspiracy was run by Sylvester Purham while he was in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Purham is one of eleven people included in the indictments with a total 47 counts alleging multiple crimes including Street Gang Criminal Drug Conspiracy, Calculated Criminal Drug Conspiracy, Criminal Drug Conspiracy and Delivery of Controlled Substances.

Barnard said “kilograms” of crack cocaine were moved from Chicago to Quincy and the investigation continues.

Master Sgt. Bob Short of the Illinois State Police and the WCITF, Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley and Adams County Sheriff Brent Fischer were also in attendance. Officers of their departments used a number of resources, followed numerous leads, and employed multiple techniques, including covert surveillance and electronic surveillance, which culminated in the indictments, according to Barnard. 

Law enforcement from the Quincy Police Department, the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, the West Central Illinois Task Force on Drugs, the Chicago Police Department, and the Federal Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force, were deployed across Illinois to apprehend suspects yesterday.  Barnard said all but one of the suspects charged is in custody. 

“It involves community members who want to make a difference who do provide information and it involves tremendous work of officers on the street…working hand in hand with each other,” Copley said. “It’s a great example of how working together makes a difference.”

Besides Sylvester Purham, others indicted included his brother, Howard Purham, Marvin Barnes, Tyree Malone, Angelo Riggs, Jeremiah Simpson and Andrew Bunch all of Chicago, Jerrica Jones, Shiya White, Adrianne Tuttle and Lasha Johnson all of Quincy.

“There’s a number of people who will wake up this morning and be sorely disappointed because their source is now in jail,” Short said. “Someone else will come in and take their place. It’s an ongoing battle. But we want them to know if they come to Quincy and want to sell their drugs here, we’re gonna get ‘em.”

Barnard said Street Gang Criminal Drug Conspiracy carries a mandatory prison sentence with a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 60 years in the Department of Corrections.  Calculated Criminal Drug Conspiracy requires a mandatory imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 6 years and a maximum of 30 years in the Department of Corrections.  Both of these types of charges, if convictions result, require a defendant to serve 75 percent of the sentence. 

“Obviously, the work of combating drug traffickers goes on, but the efforts of these agencies, as represented by these indictments, is a major blow to the operations of these drug traffickers,” Barnard said. “We are not so naïve to think that we have wiped out drug trafficking in this part of the world.  But this is an important step.  And, there is a bit of a message here.  If it is your plan to profit from the misery you inflict on others, be warned.  The penalties are severe.” 


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