Home Springfield Press Releases 2011 Arrests Target Alleged Crack, Marijuana Networks Supplying Bloomington-Normal Operation Prairie Eagle

Arrests Target Alleged Crack, Marijuana Networks Supplying Bloomington-Normal Operation Prairie Eagle

U.S. Attorney’s Office April 06, 2011
  • Southern District of Illinois (618) 628-3700

PEORIA, IL—A Chicago-area man, Eric Michael Cheek, and 15 local residents have been charged by federal criminal complaint in a cooperative investigation known as Operation Prairie Eagle that targets distribution of crack cocaine and marijuana in the Bloomington-Normal area.

The charges are the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Springfield Division, and the Normal Police Department, with assistance provided by the Bloomington Police Department; the McLean County Sheriff's Office; Illinois State Police Task Force 6; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the McLean County State's Attorney's Office, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois.

"Operation Prairie Eagle" defendants charged in federal criminal complaints include:

  • Eric Michael Cheek, a.k.a. "Meatball," 36, of Cicero, Ill.;
  • Brandon Cory Williams, 27 of the 600 block of E. Market, Bloomington;
  • Antonio Dion Seymon, a.k.a. "Bone," 28, of the 800 block of W. Oakland, Bloomington;
  • Langston Pates, a.k.a. "LP," 28, of the 700 block of W. Mulberry, Bloomington;
  • Tabitha Christine Harris, 37 of the 800 block of E. Olive, Bloomington;
  • Victoria Nicole Williams, 27, address unavailable;
  • Andra Pace, 36, of the 500 block of W. Oakland, Bloomington;
  • Matthew Brian Bell, 27, of the 1300 block of Seminary Ave., Bloomington;
  • Reginald Dunson, 30, of the 300 block of Hibiscus, Bloomington;
  • Eric Lee Hodo, a.k.a "Glock," 34, of the 200 block of Crossing, Normal;
  • Hollis Cortez Vanleer, 24, of the 100 block of Northfield, Normal;
  • Deangelo Johnson, 34, of Bloomington;
  • Timothy Henderson, a.k.a. "Pills," 40, of the 900 block of West Grove, Bloomington;
  • Darnell Baker, 24, of Bloomington;
  • Tyrell Binion, 28, of the 700 block of N. Fell Ave., Normal; and
  • Corey Lamar Eason, a.k.a "Big C," 31, of the 1400 block of E. College Ave., Normal, Ill.

The affidavit filed in support of the complaint alleges that Cheek is a primary leader of a drug trafficking organization that is involved in the distribution of crack cocaine and marijuana in the Bloomington-Normal area. Beginning in 2001 to the present, the affidavit alleges that Cheek conspired with others to supply drugs for distribution and used runners to transport the drugs from Chicago to central Illinois and to collect drug money.

According to the affidavit, the investigation known as "Operation Prairie Eagle" began in August 2010 by the Peoria Area Safe Streets Task Force. The affidavits detail various incidents and information gathered by law enforcement during the investigation including controlled purchases of drugs and information gathered by law enforcement from various sources and surveillance.

Cheek, Williams, Seymon, Pates, Harris, and Williams are each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute crack and marijuana, from 2001 to the present. If convicted, the offense carries a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years to life in prison. If a defendant has one or more prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory minimum penalty is 20 years to life in prison. With two or more prior felony drug convictions, the statutory penalty is life in prison.

Hodo, Vanleer, Johnson, Henderson, Baker, and Binion are charged in a separate complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute crack cocaine, from August 2010 to the present. If convicted, the offense carries a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years to life in prison. If a defendant has one or more prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory minimum penalty is 20 years to life in prison. With two or more prior felony drug convictions, the statutory penalty is life in prison.

Pace, Bell and Dunson are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana from 2001 to the present. If convicted, the offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum penalty of five years to life in prison; if a defendant has one or more prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory minimum penalty is 10 years to life in prison.

Eason is charged in another complaint with possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine on Aug. 9, 2010. If convicted, the offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum penalty of five years to life in prison; if a defendant has one or more prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory minimum penalty is 10 years to life in prison.

Members of the public are reminded that a complaint is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.