Rantoul man gets 15 years in drug case

URBANA — A Rantoul man who admitted having cannabis intended for sale in his home in 2009 has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd sentenced David Williams, 35, who listed an address in the 300 block of North High Street, on Wednesday. He had pleaded guilty in late February to possession with intent to deliver cannabis, admitting that he had almost 11 pounds of cannabis in his home on May 1, 2009.

Rantoul police found the cannabis during a court-ordered search.

To aggravate Williams' sentence, Assistant State's Attorney Dan Clifton had Rantoul police Sgt. Marcus Beach testify about controlled buys of cocaine that police had made from Williams prior to the search.

Beach said Williams admitted to police that for about 18 months before his arrest he was bringing as much as 1 to 2 pounds of cannabis and up to 4 ounces of cocaine to his home for sale.

On the day of the search, in addition to the cannabis, police found 14.6 grams of powder and crack cocaine, Beach said.

Clifton said since 1995, Williams had prior convictions for possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of cannabis, driving under the influence, driving under revocation, and domestic battery.

Clifton recommended a sentence of 15 years in prison on the Class 1 felony even though Ladd could have doubled that given Williams' prior record. Williams' attorney, Neill Schurter of Rantoul asked for a sentence closer to the minimum of four years in prison or boot camp.

Williams testified that he had raised his 17-year-old son alone since the boy was 2 but sent him to live with his mother about a year ago in the wake of his criminal charges. He has a younger child whom he also supports. Williams also testified he had a good job at Rantoul Products, which he lost when the factory shut down in 2007.

Clifton said the sentence is Williams' first trip to the penitentiary.

In addition to the prison sentence, Ladd ordered Williams to pay a $10,000 street value fine and a $2,000 mandatory assessment.

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