URBANA — Three area men are due back in federal court in September following their indictments for conspiring to distribute heroin in Champaign County.
Meanwhile, a fourth man who was also indicted for conspiring to distribute heroin remains at large; and a fifth man who has pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge is scheduled to be sentenced in November.
U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman Sharon Paul said Mark M. Brown, 41, of Rantoul was arrested and charged in federal court in February with possession with the intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin.
Brown's arrest and the subsequent arrests were the result of an federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation in cooperation with the Champaign Police Department and state police.
After Brown pleaded guilty on July 8, a grand jury was called to consider drug charges against four additional men who were allegedly involved with Brown.
The details of how the other four men were related to Brown's case have not been made public, according to Paul.
On July 10, which was two days following Brown's guilty plea, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against four men: Clifford L. Brown, 34, who listed an address in the 900 block of South Lierman Avenue, Urbana; Christopher N. Maze-Moore, 26, who listed an address in the 300 block of Nelson Court, Champaign; Kavurante Derrez Pettigrew, 22, also known as "Little D," who listed an address in the 1300 block of North Clock Street, Champaign; and Daniel J. Hightower, 25, also known as "Boogie," who listed an address in the 1500 block of Kings Way, Champaign.
As a result of the indictment, a warrant, which was sealed at the time, was issued for the arrest of all four men.
Paul said that Brown, Maze-Moore and Pettigrew were all arrested on the warrant on July 23. Brown and Maze-Moore appeared in federal court that same day before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal, and Pettigrew appeared in federal court on July 24.
All three men remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. They have a pretrial hearing on Sept. 13 and are scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 23.
On Aug. 6, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller, who is prosecuting the case, asked that the federal indictment be unsealed.
When the indictment was unsealed, the warrant for Hightower's arrest was made public, according to Paul.
The indictment charges all four men with conspiracy to distribute heroin. It alleges that from about September 2011 to February 2013, the four defendants conspired to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin. The four men also face an additional count of distribution of heroin.
Meanwhile, Brown remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 14.