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Operation Western Wind





Galesburg, IL. - A federal indictment that charges 12 defendants with conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana in Knox County, Illinois, is the result of an ongoing cooperative and coordinated task force operation known as "Western Wind".  The defendants were arrested early yesterday and are making their initial court appearances this afternoon in federal court in Peoria.  The defendants, named in a federal indictment returned last month but sealed pending the arrests, are charged with a single count of conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of Marijuana.  The indictment alleges that beginning in 1992 and continuing to 2009, the defendants conspired together and with others to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana in Knox County and elsewhere.

Jim Lewis, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, today joined Knox County Sheriff David Clague; Knox County State's Attorney John Pepmeyer; Galesburg Police Chief David Christensen; an Illinois State Police representative of the West Central Illinois Task Force; and Rene Sandoval, Director of the Multi-County Enforcement Group, known as PMEG, to announce the arrests and charges.

Law Enforcement agencies that assisted the investigative agencies in making the arrests include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Warren County Sheriff's Office, Fulton County Sheriff's Office, McLean County Sheriff's Office, Monmouth Police Department, Abingdon Police Department and the London Mills Police Department.

The defendants, who are all from the Knox County, IL area include:

  • Bud Steele, 42, Roseville
  • Chad D. Hopkins, 38, Lewiston 
  • Corey N. Storm, 38, Gilson
  • Eric M. Littlefield, 40, Galesburg
  • Gerald A. Clarke, 40, Altona
  • Kenyon D. Shepard, 45, Monmouth
  • Anthony M. Miller, 41, Abingdon
  • Doug E. Charles, 41, Galesburg (currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections)
  • Rodney G. Dawson, 41, Galesburg
  • Gerald L. Morrell, 47, London Mills
  • Bryan L. Campbell, 43, Monmouth
  • Sean H. Hartshorn, 40, Bloomington

If convicted, conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana carries a statutory mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison.  If a defendant has one prior felony drug conviction, 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 without parole.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation.  The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Bud Steele

Chad D. Hopkins

Corey N. Storm

Eric Littlefield

Gerald A. Clarke

Kenyon Shepard

Anthony M. Miller

Doug E. Charles

  Rodney Dawson

Gerald L. Morrell

Bryan L. Campbell

Sean H. Hartshorn