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CHARLESTON -- A woman who was accused of taking part in a plan to make methamphetamine can avoid a record of a conviction with the agreement reached in her case.

Melanie A. Shaffer, 44, whose most recent address on record is an apartment on South 17th Street in Mattoon, pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine possession charge.

The charge accused Shaffer of having the drug in August 2015 and the original methamphetamine conspiracy charge against her was dismissed

The agreed-to sentence was two years of first offender probation, which can lead to no record of a conviction if completed successfully.

Probation terms included an evaluation to determine substance abuse treatment needed and a requirement that Shaffer follow its recommendation. She was also ordered to pay about $750 in fines and court fees.

Coles County Circuit Judge Brien O'Brien sentenced Shaffer by accepting the terms of a plea agreement that Assistant Illinois Attorney General Barry Schaefer and county Assistant Public Defender Jesse Danley recommended.

The Attorney General's office prosecuted Shaffer and the others accused because they were indicted by what is called a statewide grand jury.

The grand jury can consider charges against people suspected of criminal activity in more than one county. The cases are then prosecuted in one of the counties in which the crimes allegedly took place.

Shaffer and five other suspects were indicted in 2015 and accused of working together to obtain methamphetamine ingredients in Coles County and other counties.

Shaffer's case was the last of the group to conclude and all of them resulted in guilty pleas. Most received probation sentences and the only prison term was ordered against a woman who also admitted to other crimes.

In other Coles County drug cases, guilty pleas were also entered by:

  • Sylvia C. Martinez, 28, for whom court records list an address of 1612 Lafayette Ave., Mattoon, to a charge of possession of a controlled substance alleging she had a prescription medicine on April 21.

Charges accusing Martinez of having methamphetamine on the same date and on July 22 were dismissed and she was placed on probation for 2 1/2 years.

Terms of the sentence included a substance abuse treatment evaluation and payment of about $1,400 in fines and court fees.

Jail time was stayed, meaning Martinez won't have to serve it if she follows her sentence's other requirements.

Circuit Judge Teresa Righter accepted a plea agreement that State's Attorney Brian Bower and Public Defender Anthony Ortega recommended.

  • Otis D. Lynch, 29, with an address on record in Springdale, Ark., to a methamphetamine possession charge alleging he had the drug in his vehicle during a traffic stop in Mattoon on April 26.

A possession with intent to deliver charge was dismissed. Terms of Lynch's two-year probation sentence include a substance abuse treatment evaluation and payment of just more than $2,000 in fines and court fees.

O'Brien accepted a plea agreement that Assistant State's Attorney Joy Wolf and Danley recommended.


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