A federal judge in Peoria has sentenced a Bellevue man to 20 years in prison for his role in a Tazewell County-based methamphetamine ring.
29-year-old Leon Virden received the stiff sentence despite the fact that both defense attorneys and prosecutors agree he played a relatively small role in the drug ring. Prosecutors contend he bought the cold pills used in making meth and helped to steal anhydrous ammonia, which is also used to produce the drug. Virden pleaded guilty to conspiracy in April. U.S. District Judge Joe McDade says Virden's prior felony drug conviction gave him not choice other than the 20-year sentence.
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