Police were preparing to arrest James Bowman of Pekin for meth conspiracy when their case took a turn Thursday.
Specifically, it was a left in Bartonville onto the McNaughton Bridge as Bowman, 27, rode from Peoria back to Pekin with three women and 46 small packets of heroin, according to charges filed Friday.
"I don't know what I'm being charged with," Bowman told a judge, who then recited the charge of possessing heroin with intent to deliver and possessing meth precursors before setting his bond at $100,000.
All four defendants were either on parole from recent prison terms or free on bond while awaiting drug possession charges when city detectives stopped their vehicle for speeding over the bridge shortly before 4 p.m.
Pamela Crump, 27, who shares Bowman's address of 413 St. Julian St., also was charged with possession with intent to sell heroin. Most of the packets, each containing enough heroin for individual use, were found in her clothing, according to a prosecutor's court affidavit.
Held on $75,000 bond, she and Bowman will appear Jan. 9 for preliminary hearings along with Nicole Sutton, 32, of 1314 S. Fifth St., and Stephanie Hutchinson, 28, of Manito. Those two were charged with possessing a controlled substance.
"We knew there would be heroin in the car" that detectives kept under surveillance Thursday as it left Bowman's home and traveled to Peoria, said Pekin Police Public Information Officer Mike Eeten.
In the two months since Bowman was released from a three-year prison term for felony theft, police built a case of meth conspiracy against him, Eeten said. The prosecutor's affidavit stated the case involved purchases of pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in some over-the-counter cold medicines that are logged by stores under state law.
Others, unnamed in Bowman's court appearance, had also taken part in the purchases, according to the affidavit.
The investigation revealed previous trips to Peoria to buy heroin that the four defendants divided among themselves, according to the affidavit. Eeten said detectives knew the trip Thursday was for the same purpose, "and (that) Bowman would probably be in the car." They stopped the vehicle, which Sutton was driving, for speeding once it passed over the bridge into Pekin, he said.
Police also booked Crump for obstructing police by falsely claiming she had swallowed some of the heroin packets as the car was stopped. She was not charged with that offense in court.
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