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Decatur woman sentenced to 24 months probation in jail drugs conspiracy

Decatur woman sentenced to 24 months probation in jail drugs conspiracy

Rebecca J. Arndt

Rebecca J. Arndt. 

DECATUR — A judge warned a Decatur woman who helped smuggle drug-laced coloring book pages into the Macon County Jail that her next stop would be prison if she didn’t mend her ways.

Rebecca J. Arndt, 22, appeared in Macon County Circuit Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to a charge of methamphetamine conspiracy. She was sentenced to 24 months probation in a plea deal negotiated by her attorney, Michelle Sanders, that saw additional charges of meth delivery, bringing a controlled substance into a penal institution and drug possession dropped.

Arndt was also ordered to pay $250 to have her DNA added to an Illinois State Police criminal database, ordered to undergo a drug abuse evaluation and sentenced to 12 days in jail, canceled out by day-for-day credit on six days she had already served.

“This is a very serious situation you have gotten yourself involved in,” said Judge Thomas Griffith. “... You are on probation: violate the terms of your probation and you will end up in the Department of Corrections. You understand?”

“Yes,” said Arndt.

The judge had earlier been told by Assistant State’s Attorney Christina Mullison that Arndt was part of a family-based drug smuggling operation uncovered by jail staff in March. Sworn affidavits from Decatur Police said Arndt’s uncle, Damien O. McClure, masterminded the operation while held in the jail awaiting transfer to start serving a prison sentence for being an armed habitual criminal.

McClure conspired with Arndt and her mother, Shannon J. Ward, to post him coloring book pages coated with meth which he then tore into strips and sold to other prisoners. He had amassed almost $3,000 in his jail account before prison authorities busted the operation.

McClure, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of meth conspiracy Sept. 16 and was sentenced to seven years. Ward, 38, appeared in court Sept. 18 and was given 24 months probation after she pleaded guilty to bringing a controlled substance into a penal institution.

A non-family member involved in the drug conspiracy, Tammy L. Leigh, 46, pleaded guilty to the same charge as Ward May 23 and was also sentenced to 24 months probation.

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


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