Illinois man is given life sentence on meth charges

February 29, 2008, was a bad day for 38 year old Monte Gearhart of Pomona Illinois. It was the day that a jury decided that he should spend the rest of his life in prison and pay a $500 for drug crimes that put his own young daughter’s life at risk.

Gearhart, who hasn’t even reached his 40th birthday yet, undoubtedly will spend everyday for the rest of his life regretting that he ever layed eyes on methamphetamine. Every year on his daughter’s birthday, he will feel sad that he will never be able to share another birthday celebration with her. He will never attend the most important events in his daughter’s life; her graduation from high school and/or college, her marriage, or the birth of her children. I am sure that Gearhart never thought it would come to this. They never do, especially when they’re high on meth. It is sad for him, but it is sadder still that his daughter has lost her father because he accepted a deal with the devil, otherwise known as methamphetamine.

The DEA report on Gearhart’s trial and sentencing:

At GEARHART’s October 2007 jury trial, the evidence established that, between at least February 2002, and September 19, 2006, GEARHART and others were manufacturing methamphetamine in Union and Jackson Counties.

On February 25, 2002, GEARHART was transporting an oxygen tank containing anhydrous ammonia. The tank exploded in his vehicle, injuring GEARHART’s three-year old child.

At sentencing, the district judge found that GEARHART had: been involved in the manufacture of over 1.8 kilograms of methamphetamine, possessed firearms during the course of the conspiracy, used a minor in the manufacture of methamphetamine, and created a substantial risk of harm to the life of a minor.

Five co-defendants have previously been sentenced for their involvement in the methamphetamine conspiracy.

The investigation was conducted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Murphysboro Police Department, United States Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives pursuant to their participation in the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative in the Southern District of Illinois. Under the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative, federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors are working together to prosecute drug dealers, felons in possession of firearms, and criminals that use firearms to commit violent offenses or drug trafficking offenses.

The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

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