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Decatur man behind jail coloring book meth ring gets 7-year sentence
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Decatur man behind jail coloring book meth ring gets 7-year sentence

Rebecca J. Arndt

Rebecca J. Arndt. 

DECATUR — The man prosecutors say was at the center of a scheme to smuggle drugs into the Macon County Jail using methamphetamine-laced coloring book pages was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday after pleading guilty.

Damien O. McClure, 37, will have to wait to begin his sentence. Prosecutors said he orchestrated the drug smuggling while awaiting the start of an eight-year prison sentence for an earlier conviction of being an armed habitual criminal. When his new drug sentence was imposed, Macon County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Geisler ordered it to run consecutive to the previous eight year sentence, effectively adding up to a total of 15 years behind bars.

McClure had pleaded guilty to a single count of methamphetamine conspiracy in a plea deal negotiated by his attorney, Scott Rueter. In return, the judge dismissed a drug possession charge and two counts of possession of a controlled substance in a penal institution.

Evidence presented in the case at earlier hearings described how the meth-soaked pages were sent to McClure with the assistance of accomplices outside the jail. Macon County Sheriff’s Office Detective T.J. Wolfe had said the scheme was discovered in March and traced to materials received by McClure.

Wolfe said McClure would tear the coloring pages into strips and sell them to other prisoners, who paid using the jail’s internal gift card system. Wolfe said McClure had racked up almost $3,000 in his jail account when the drug smuggling was busted.

Two women were charged with helping McClure with the smuggling. Tammy L. Leigh, 46, took a plea deal May 23 and was sentenced to 24 months probation after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance.

Rebecca J. Arndt, 22, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of methamphetamine delivery, plus an additional charge of bringing a controlled substance into a penal institution and one count of drug possession. Her case is set for a disposition hearing Oct. 1, which often indicates that a plea deal may be reached. 

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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