DECATUR A 38-year-old woman was arrested and faces felony drug charges after participating in a plan to send methamphetamine to a Macon County Jail inmate.

A sworn affidavit said Shannon J. Ward is the sister of Damien O. McClure, 36, who is facing charges of running a meth distribution ring inside the jail. McClure called Ward on March 23 and said he "needs some mail, if you get my drift." McClure also asked Ward to deposit more money in his account, a sworn affidavit said.

According to a sworn affidavit, McClure contacted Ward on March 24 and asked if she had a chance to "do again what she's already done." Ward told her brother to expect a piece of mail coming from "Sharon Peters." This letter arrived March 28 and was when McClure received a letter with contraband, the sworn affidavit said.

McClure told Ward to "add a little more than last time," the sworn affidavit said. Ward said she would tell her 22-year-old daughter, Rebecca J. Arndt, to add more if she wasn't finished. The affidavit said using meth-laced coloring book pictures supplied in part by Arndt, he tore the pages into strips and sold them to other inmates.

McClure, known to Arndt as “Uncle Damo,” wrote an admiring letter from jail back to her, according to Detective T.J. Wolfe, who investigated the case. “‘Tell my niece very good job and I’ll be writing her back soon,’” Wolfe wrote in the affidavit, quoting from the letter. 

Arndt was arrested May 10 during police interviews and is facing two charges of delivering meth, one count of bringing the drug into a penal institution and one count of possession of marijuana. A warrant for her arrest was issued Tuesday after she failed to appear in Macon County Circuit Court that afternoon.

Ward was arrested at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday in the 300 block of West Prairie Street. She is facing preliminary charges of calculated criminal drug conspiracy, manufacture/delivery of methamphetamine and possession of contraband in a penal institution. All charges are subject to review by the Macon County State's Attorney's Office. Ward is being held in the Macon County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bond.

Another woman involved in the drug supply operation, Tammy L. Leigh, 46, was sentenced May 23 to 24 months probation. She accepted a plea deal negotiated by Chief Public Defender Dave Ellison that saw her plead guilty to possession of a controlled substance in a penal institution; two charges of meth trafficking and one extra count of possession were dismissed.

McClure is pleading not guilty to charges of meth trafficking, possession of meth, and two counts of possession of the drug in a penal institution. He is due in court July 29 for a pretrial hearing. Presiding Judge A.G. Webber IV scheduled a bond forfeiture hearing for Arndt on July 26.

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Contact Kennedy Nolen at (217) 421-6985. Follow her on Twitter: @KNolenWrites


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