Man accused of recruiting homeless to buy meth ingredients

Man accused of recruiting homeless to buy meth ingredients

URBANA — A Danville man who admitted to police that he recruits poor people from a soup kitchen to buy methamphetamine ingredients for him has been criminally charged in Champaign County Circuit Court.

Cortez Shields, 32, who listed an address in the 1200 block of Garden Drive, was charged Friday with a single count of possession of a methamphetamine precursor, a Class 1 felony carrying penalties ranging from probation to four to 15 years in prison upon conviction.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark said on Thursday morning, Champaign police received information that there were men at the Daily Bread soup kitchen at the corner of Randolph and White streets offering to pay people to buy pseudoephedrine for them.

The caller supplied the kind of car and the license plate for it and reported that one group had already left the area in the car.

Clark said police found the car in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store and watched as a man approached the passenger and handed him a package.

When the car left the lot, police stopped it and found Shields in the passenger seat. There were also two people in the back who admitted they took money from him to buy the cold medication, a common ingredient used in the manufacture of the highly addictive methamphetamine.

State law limits the number of purchases of pseudoephedrine by any one person.

In the car, police found nine boxes of pseudoephedrine as well as bags from Target and Wal-Mart and receipts from those stores for the cold medication.

Clark said Shields admitted that he recruited the soup kitchen clients to buy pseudoephedrine for him, saying he can buy the drug for $6 a box and resell it in Danville for $50 a box. He also admitted he had successfully recruited nine people to buy it for him in Champaign on Thursday.

Shields was arrested shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday.

His bond was set Friday at $15,000 and he was told to be back in court July 15.

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