Man sentenced to 12 years in cocaine case

Man sentenced to 12 years in cocaine case

URBANA — A Champaign man who had about 2 ounces of cocaine in his car when arrested more than three years ago has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

In early February, a Champaign County jury convicted Antonio Serrato-Perez, 30, whose last known address was in the 0-100 block of Apricot Drive, of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Carlson said the charge stemmed from Serrato-Perez's arrest on Sept. 22, 2009, following a traffic stop by Champaign County sheriff's deputies, who were assisted by University of Illinois police detectives.

Serrato-Perez's attorney, Anthony Bruno of Urbana, said police stopped him on Interstate 57 about 5 miles south of Rantoul because his front license plate was improperly displayed. The plate was wedged on his dashboard, Bruno said.

Carlson said a drug-sniffing dog alerted to the presence of drugs in the car and police found just over 2 ounces of cocaine (60.2 grams) in the center console.

Carlson sought a 20-year sentence for Serrato-Perez, who had no prior criminal convictions, while Bruno sought the minimum sentence of six years.

Serrato-Perez was charged in a warrant in December 2009 but remained at large until June 2012.

A jury deliberated about an hour before convicting him. Judge Harry Clem imposed the sentence.

Carlson said Serrato-Perez had been deported once in the past and is now under federal indictment for a second illegal entry into the United States.

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