Rantoul man charged in drug case

URBANA — A Rantoul man who allegedly admitted to police he sold cannabis to help make ends meet has been criminally charged with a number of felonies.

Jerry D. Harper, 26, who listed an address in the 500 block of Broadmeadow Road, was charged Friday in Champaign County Circuit Court with armed violence, possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number, and possession with intent to deliver cannabis.

Urbana police investigator Matt Quinley said their street crimes unit had made enough controlled buys of cannabis from Harper to get a judge to issue a search warrant for his home. Quinley said drug investigations frequently cross into other cities.

Urbana officers went to Harper's home Thursday afternoon and arrested him for a city ordinance violation, then began the court-authorized search.

In the house they found digital scales, packaging materials, a .40 caliber pistol with its markings filed off, a 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition and almost three ounces (80 grams) of cannabis.

Harper also had $870 cash on him, including pre-marked money that police had given to informants to buy cannabis from him.

Because he had no firearm owner's identification card and because he was allegedly selling cannabis at a time when he had guns in the house, he was charged with armed violence, a Class X felony. If convicted of that, he faces six to 30 years in prison.

Harper was ordered to be back in court Sept. 24.

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