U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois
(312) 353-5300
November 18, 2014

Rockford Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking

ROCKFORD—A Rockford, Ill. man was sentenced yesterday in federal court by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala on a federal drug trafficking charge. The defendant, MICHAEL CRAIG, 44, was sentenced to 169 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Craig has been in federal custody since his arrest on March 15, 2013.

Craig pleaded guilty to the charge on March 21, 2014. According to the written plea agreement, from June 1, 2010 through January 5, 2012, Craig ran a heroin trafficking organization in Rockford and conspired with his co-defendants, Michael W. Charles, Elbert Charles Dixon, Melvin Bradley, Denise Lambert, Devon Zachary and Jose Melendez, to distribute more than 1 kilogram of heroin. The plea agreement noted that Craig and Melendez pooled their money and traveled together to obtain heroin from their suppliers in Chicago and that Craig then provided the heroin to Charles, Dixon, Zachary and others to distribute in Rockford. The plea agreement fmther noted that Lambert aided Craig in his heroin trafficking operation by storing Craig’s heroin and heroin trafficking proceeds at her apartment in Rockford. Craig also admitted as part of the plea agreement that he directed Charles and Dixon to distribute heroin to a witness who was secretly cooperating with law enforcement on two occasions in June 2011. Craig was also ordered to repay $2,300 in “buy” money used in the undercover operation.

Co-defendants Charles, Dixon, Bradley Lambert, Zachary and Melendez all previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin. On May 28, 2014, Charles was sentenced to 151 months’ imprisonment. On May 23, 2014, Dixon was sentenced to 70 months’ imprisonment. On May 9, 2014, Bradley was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment. On May 6, 2014, Zachery was sentenced to 124 months’ imprisonment. On November 13, 2014, Jose Melendez was sentenced to 135 months’ imprisonment. Lambert is awaiting sentencing and is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, in addition to a maximum fine of up to $1 million for her involvement in the conspiracy. The Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The sentencing was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Carl Vasilko, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives; Richard Meyers, Winnebago County Sheriff; Chet Epperson, Chief of the Rockford Police Department; and Hiram Grau, Director of the Illinois State Police.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Pedersen.

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