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URBANA -- A man arrested along with three other people in connection with a planned methamphetamine sale in Charleston last year was sentenced on Monday to 17 years in federal prison.

Nicholas A. Ingram received the sentence for the federal charge of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute to which he pleaded guilty in April.

Ingram, 39, for whom court records list a rural Brocton address, formerly of Mattoon and Charleston, and the others were arrested after meeting in Charleston on Sept. 7.

The suspects were charged in Coles County with methamphetamine conspiracy counts that accused them of various roles of arranging the meeting to buy methamphetamine from Ingram.

The Coles County charge against Ingram was dismissed in November in favor of the federal prosecution.

Sentences for federal offenses are based on a variety of factors, including a defendant's criminal history. Coles County court records show two earlier methamphetamine convictions for which Ingram served prison time.

U.S. District Judge Colin Stirling Bruce ordered Ingram to serve 17 years in custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which will be followed by eights years of supervised release or parole.

The judge based on the sentence on a presentence investigation report into Ingram's background along with recommendations from Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Freres and Assistant Federal Public Defender Elisabeth Pollock.

One of the other suspects pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in her Coles County case while the cases against the other two are still pending.

Amanda J. Erwin, 40, whose address on record is 3333 Champaign Ave., Mattoon, entered a guilty plea to a charge accusing her of having methamphetamine on Sept. 17.

With the agreement in her case, Erwin was placed on probation for 2 1/2 years and the conspiracy charge, which would have required a six- to 30-year prison sentence, was dismissed.

Erwin was accused of going to the Charleston Walmart with one of the other suspects to meet Ingram to purchase the methamphetamine.

The pending cases are against James S. Harris and Melissa R. Harris, both 44 and for whom records show the same address, 1513 Shelby Ave., Mattoon.

James Harris is also accused of meeting Ingram to make the methamphetamine purchase while Melissa Harris allegedly made the arrangements to meet Ingram and gave money to the others to buy the drugs.

Melissa Harris is also charged with a methamphetamine possession offense alleging she had the drug on Oct. 5, a case that's also still pending.



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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