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Federal judge imposes 21-year prison sentence on meth ring leader

Legal Gavel & Open Law Book
Legal Gavel & Open Law Book

A man who shipped large amounts of methamphetamine from Mexico to his Logan County farm will spend 21 years in federal prison.

That's the sentence handed down against 54-year-old Juan Esquivel Bernal of Atlanta, Illinois. Bernal entered a plea agreement to drug conspiracy charges in January.

Authorities seized or bought more than eight kilograms of meth during the investigation — three kilograms in 13 purchases over 10 months and five kilograms seized in a raid of the farm. They also seized guns and drug paraphernalia during the search.

Three of four co-defendants have either been sentenced or await sentencing. Edgar Daniel Perez-Hernandez pleaded guilty and was sentenced in July to four years in prison. Maria Guadalupe Flores-Cano, known as “Lupita,” pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in September. Juan Carlos Figueroa-Ramirez, known as “Max,” pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in November.

The fourth person charged in the drug ring is Edgar J. Tello, who is scheduled for a pre-trial conference in October.

The investigation sprawled across central Illinois in Logan, Tazewell, Peoria, and Fulton counties and to Rock County, Wisconsin, and involved multiple state and federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Postal Service.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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