Theft plea in drug deal brings probation

URBANA — A Champaign man who admitted he was going to rip off a drug customer has been sentenced to a year of probation.

Taaj Martin, 20, who listed an address in the 100 block of East Green Street, pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft from a person, admitting that on Nov. 26, he took money from a man near the corner of First and John streets.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark said the victim arranged to buy MDMA and cannabis from Martin and when he handed over $160 to Martin, Martin took the money and walked away.

The victim then yelled at Martin that he wanted his drugs, and Martin responded by lifting his shirt to reveal what the victim believed was a switchblade.

Clark said Martin confessed to University of Illinois police that he had planned to rob the victim. Martin had no prior criminal convictions.

In return for his guilty plea, Clark dismissed a more serious charge of aggravated robbery.

A co-defendant who allegedly set up the meeting between Martin and the victim is tentatively scheduled to be tried next month.

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