EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A 33-year-old Los Angeles man was sentenced to more than 21 years of prison time after admitting to leading a drug ring that targeted communities in southern Illinois, according to a written release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Illinois.
Thomas Hines pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess meth with the intention to distribute and a charge of conspiracy to launder money, the release shared Thursday said. Hines was also ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.
The conspiracy Hines admitted to leading engaged in drug trafficking from January 2020, at the latest, to January 2021, moving more than an estimated 20 pounds of meth to southern Illinois.
“The defendant led an operation responsible for distributing a significant amount of methamphetamine in this district,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “Pushing pound quantities of drugs exhibits a lack of respect for the law and safety of the community, and the defendant will have years to reconsider his actions in federal prison.”
Hines provided the meth to the drug ring, the release said. Seven others were members of the drug ring were charged and have since pleaded guilty to being members of the drug ring:
- Nyeshia Anderson, 32, of North Las Vegas, Nevada;
- Corey Hendriex, 39, of Granite City, Illinois;
- Amy Lynch, 42, of Granite City, Illinois;
- Tamara Peoples, 66, of Granite City, Illinois;
- Richard Stark, 53, of Hazelwood, Missouri;
- Terrence Thompson, 36, of St. Louis, Missouri;
- Terrell Winston, 37, of Florissant, Missouri.
During one November 2020 occasion, Hines and Anderson delivered a meth-filled suitcase to Thompson. With a warrant, law enforcement officers searching Thompson's home found the meth suitcase. It was holding nearly 11 kilograms —around 24 pounds— of meth.
The drug ring members used Cash App, cashier's checks, bank transfers and USPS money orders to launder the money, the U.S. Attorney's Office release said.
The investigation was led by the DEA. Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Rehg leads DEA enforcement operations in southern Illinois.
"We investigate the criminal networks causing the most damage to our communities, and meth is particularly prominent in the Midwest, damaging lives in every community," Rehg said. "Significant time behind bars for defendants like Thomas Hines is a fine reward to our investigators for their diligent work."
Among the remaining ring members, most were sentenced to between 32 and 292 months; the only exceptions are Lynch and Winston. Their sentencing dates are scheduled for November.