Marion man sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for cocaine offense

BENTON — A Marion man was sentenced Tuesday to federal prison for a cocaine offense.

U.S. Attorney Donald S. Boyce says 30-year-old Tyree M. Neal, Jr., who had previously pleaded guilty to a one-count indictment charging conspiracy to distribute cocaine, was sentenced to 30 years in prison to be followed by 6 years of supervised release and fined $400.

Evidence at the plea and sentencing hearings established that, from at least 2012 through August 2014, Neal was involved with others in the distribution of cocaine in Williamson County. On multiple occasions, Neal sold cocaine to confidential sources working for law enforcement.

On Sept. 12, 2014, federal and local law enforcement attempted to arrest Neal on a federal drug warrant. Neal fled from the police in his vehicle, almost striking a police officer and ramming into a police vehicle. Neal then led authorities on a 17 mile, high-speed pursuit, traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph and forcing other vehicles off the road.

After Neal crashed his vehicle in rural Williamson County, he carjacked a van that was occupied by a young woman and three minor children. Additional evidence established that Neal tried to recruit other persons to kill certain witnesses that had cooperated against him.

At sentencing, the district court found that Neal was responsible for the distribution of more than 13.4 kilograms of cocaine and 5.9 grams of crack cocaine. Neal’s sentence was enhanced based on his use of violence, obstruction of justice and reckless endangerment to others while fleeing from the police. Neal has an extensive criminal history and was classified as a career offender.

The investigation was conducted by the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group. The Marion Police Department, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and United States Marshals Service also assisted in the investigation.