Posted: Apr. 2, 2014 8:34 pm Updated: Apr. 16, 2014 9:15 pm
By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A Shelbina, Mo., man who was part of a group charged with trafficking methamphetamine across state lines was sent to prison Wednesday.
Cameron T. Carothers, 24, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years by Judge Scott Walden during a hearing in Adams County Circuit Court. Carothers pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession with intent to deliver meth in connection with a Sept. 24 incident in rural Adams County. He faced up to seven years in prison.
Walden opted against probation and went with a sentencing recommendation by First Assistant State’s Attorney Gary Farha.
“You are a non-addict who sees a way to make money off people who are using this stuff,” Walden said. “I don’t think you are a good candidate for probation given the severity of the offense. The state actually made a generous (sentencing) recommendation.
“The vast majority of meth cases I see are people making the stuff or providing pills to have the stuff made. It’s an inbred thing. ... You did it for the money. You participated much the same way many other drugs are dealt in our community.”
Carothers was one of three people arrested after an investigation by the West Central Illinois Task Force. Farha said a confidential source set up a drug buy with a group from Missouri that included Carothers.
The source gave April L. Darnell, who was traveling with Carothers, $220 for some meth. A task force officer saw the drug deal take place near the Turtle Lake Road area, south of Quincy.
Farha said marked bills were found inside the vehicle Carothers was driving during a traffic stop near Marblehead. Also found inside the vehicle was a loaded handgun, drug records and prescription drugs.
Carothers denied that he knew a drug deal was going to take place. Farha said that in the pre-sentence investigation report that Carothers admitted to being a middle man for other meth deals.
“Mr. Carothers explains his role as a middle man and acts like it is OK being a conduit for passing drugs to others,” Farha said. “His attitude toward all of this is that it is no big deal. That concerns the people a great deal.”
Public Defender John Clark, who represented Carothers, asked Walden to go along with the Adams County Probation Department’s recommendation of probation. He said Carothers would benefit from substance abuse and mental health services that probation could offer.
“He’s got some growing up to do and has some issues that need addressed,” Clark said. “He seems a lot more mature now than he was when I first met him a few months ago.”
Carothers was on probation in Missouri for a misdemeanor conviction for receiving stolen property when he was arrested in September. Walden asked Carothers what would make his probation in this case different from the probation he was on in Missouri.
“It wasn’t a program that helped you,” Walden said. “It was a money program. It wasn’t a program to get you to wake up. It was about making a profit. Over there, it’s a slap on the wrist and go. Over here, it’s not a slap on the wrist. It’s a wake-up call.”
Carothers was given credit for 24 days already served in the Adams County Jail. He will serve two years of mandatory supervised release upon his release. He had been free since posting $2,500 bond on Oct. 18.
He is the second person involved in the case to be sent to prison. Darnell, 29, was given a four-year prison term March 6 after she pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful meth delivery.
The third person arrested, Paula D. Schwieter, 31, of Hannibal, was sentenced to 36 months probation after she pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession with intent deliver meth.