U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois
(312) 353-5300
December 31, 2014

Rockford Woman Sentenced to 80 Months in Prison for Drug Trafficking

ROCKFORD—A Rockford, Ill. woman was sentenced today in federal court by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala on a federal drug trafficking charge. The defendant, DENISE LAMBERT, 56, was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

Lambert pleaded guilty to the charge on April 11, 2014. According to the written plea agreement, from Oct 1, 2010 to Jan. 5, 2012, Lambert was part of a heroin trafficking organization in Rockford and conspired with her co-defendants, Michael J. Craig, Michael W. Charles, Elbert Charles Dixon, Melvin Bradley, Devon Zachary and Jose Melendez, to distribute heroin. The plea agreement noted that while working for Craig taking care of Craig’s children, Lambert performed tasks at the request and direction of Craig to assist Craig in distributing heroin in Rockford, Illinois including renting an apartment and vehicles in Lambert’s relatives’ names for Craig to use to store and transport heroin and heroin trafficking proceeds, delivering heroin mixtures packaged in plastic baggies to Charles, Dixon, Zachary and Bradley for them to sell to others, and collecting money from Charles, Dixon, Zachary and Bradley after they sold the heroin and delivering the money to Craig.

Co-defendants Craig, 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 Nov. 13, 2014, Melendez was sentenced to 135 months’ imprisonment. On Nov. 17, 2014, Craig was sentenced to 169 months’ imprisonment.

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; Gary Caruana, Winnebago County Sheriff; Chet Epperson, Chief of the Rockford Police Department; and Hiram Grau, Director of the Illinois State Police.

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

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