Charges reduced for two in drug case

Charges reduced for two in drug case

URBANA — Two men arrested for having about a quarter pound of cocaine in a car in southern Champaign County in February have pleaded guilty to significantly reduced charges.

In plea agreements entered Monday in Champaign County Circuit Court, Cornelius Dean, 48, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to possession of less than 15 grams of cocaine and was sentenced to two years of probation and fined about $1,600.

Co-defendant Michael T. Williams, 41, of Cairo, pleaded guilty to driving under suspension, a misdemeanor, and was fined.

In exchange for those pleas, Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Carlson dismissed Class X felony charges against both men alleging they had between 100 and 400 grams of cocaine intended for sale.

The two men were stopped on Interstate 57 near Pesotum about 11 p.m. on Feb. 14 after a trooper saw them pull in a turnaround reserved for emergency vehicles.

The trooper smelled cannabis and, after learning that Williams was driving with a suspended license and Dean was wanted on a Coles County warrant, did a search of the car that turned up two bags of cocaine weighing a total of about 128 grams.

Carlson said she agreed to the reduced charges because the Illinois State Police did not obtain latent fingerprints from the bags and each of the defendants claimed that the cocaine belonged to the other.

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