For Immediate Release
Chicago Resident Convicted of Conspiring to Manufacture Marijuana in Rockford Warehouse
ROCKFORD — A Chicago man was found guilty of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana following a four-day jury trial in federal court in Rockford.
YOUSIF Y. PIRA, 64, was found guilty of conspiring to manufacture, possess and distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants.
The conviction was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Celinez Nunez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; Derek Bergsten, Chief of the Rockford Fire Department; and Anthony Scarpelli, Chief of the Skokie Police Department. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department Narcotics Unit and the Rockford Police Department Narcotics Unit assisted in the investigation.
According to the indictment and the evidence at trial, between Jan. 2, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2015, Pira conspired with JEREMIAH N. CLEMENT, 39, of Des Plaines, GEORGE H. BACUS, 53, of Niles, JUSTIN T. PAGLUSCH, 36, of Ingleside, SHLIMON SHIMON, 49, of Chicago, and CASEY WILLIAMS, 30, and DESTINY FREEMAN, 23, both of Great Falls, Mont., to illegally grow, store and distribute marijuana in a warehouse at 1916 11th Street in Rockford. The warehouse was destroyed by a fire on Jan. 6, 2015.
As part of the conspiracy, among other things, Pira purchased grow lights and other equipment and supplies for the illegal operation to grow marijuana in the warehouse, and installed wiring for the lights used to grow marijuana.
Conspiring to manufacture 1,000 or more marijuana plants carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and a statutory mandatory minimum sentence ten years’ imprisonment. The charge also carries a term of supervised release following imprisonment of at least five years and up to life, and a maximum fine of $10 million.
Clement pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment on June 3, 2016. Pagluach pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment on June 23, 2016. Bacus, Williams and Freeman have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. An arrest warrant was issued for Shimon, who is still at large.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph C. Pedersen and Margaret J. Schneider.
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