Paxton man convicted in cocaine trial
URBANA — A Paxton man who oversaw a cocaine-trafficking network that distributed large amounts of the drug in Springfield and Decatur was convicted Thursday of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine — charges that could land him in prison for the rest of his life.
A 12-member jury reached its verdict against Eddi S. "Migo" Ramirez, 32, of Paxton, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in U.S. District Court in Urbana, concluding a trial that started Feb. 4.
Judge Michael McCuskey set sentencing for 1:30 p.m. May 21.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine carries a mandatory sentence of 10 years to life in prison. But if the defendant has one or more prior drug convictions, the mandatory penalty becomes 20 years to life, and if the defendant has two or more prior drug convictions, the mandatory sentence is life in prison.
Ramirez has at least one drug-related conviction. In 2009, he was sentenced to six years in prison for possession of a controlled substance after he pleaded guilty to having about 120 grams of cocaine in Urbana. He was discharged from the Department of Corrections on Aug. 4, 2011.
Ramirez and several co-defendants were charged in federal court in fall 2012 with one count each of conspiracy to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine. The others have each pleaded guilty, with one already sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, according to U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Sharon Paul.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said an investigation into the drug-trafficking ring began in January 2012.