Champaign man gets 35 years on federal weapons conviction

Champaign man gets 35 years on federal weapons conviction

URBANA — A Champaign man with a history of drug and weapon convictions was sentenced Friday to 35 years in federal prison for more of the same.

Sam Yarber, 45, received the sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Colin Bruce after having been convicted by a jury in October of using a gun in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and possession of a firearm by a felon.

At trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Miller presented evidence that more than a year ago, Yarber had about an ounce of heroin, 7 grams of crack cocaine, a digital scale and three loaded semi-automatic weapons at two homes in Champaign and Urbana linked to him.

Members of the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force found the drugs and guns in searches they did Dec. 14, 2016, at homes in the 2000 block of Moreland Boulevard, Champaign, and the 2000 block of Perkins Road in Urbana.

Police obtained the search warrants after making four controlled buys of crack cocaine from him in the month before that.

Yarber admitted to police that he sold drugs but claimed he had received the guns as payment for cocaine.

Yarber was convicted in 2000 of federal drug-trafficking and firearms violations and was sentenced to almost 10 years in federal prison. His sentence was reduced to time served in 2008 when sentencing guidelines pertaining to crack cocaine were lowered.

However, Yarber went back to prison for 15 months on a parole revocation after he was found to have sold heroin.

On Friday, Bruce sentenced Yarber to 10 years in prison for possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a felon, plus 25 years in prison, to be served after the 10, for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

The 25 years was mandated because it was the second such conviction for Yarber.

Yarber was also ordered to forfeit the guns seized to police.

His attorney, Assistant U.S. Public Defender Elisabeth Pollock, indicated that Yarber intends to appeal.

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Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes. wrote on February 24, 2018 at 11:02 am

Our SAO would have given a chance for boot camp.