A third person connected to supplies of synthetic marijuana that sickened numerous area residents last year was ordered to prison Friday.
Richard Booth, 27, of Pekin, was sentenced to six years and two months with his guilty plea to possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The charge was reduced from a more serious level punishable by up to 30 years behind bars.
Rachel Spires, 31, Booth’s live-in girlfriend, was imprisoned for 8 ½ years in May for her role in the case.
In a separate case, Lonnie Smith, 47, of Pekin began a nine-year term in July for the drug-induced homicide of Anthony Phillips and aggravated battery of Phillips’ girlfriend, both of Pekin. They suffered internal bleeding, which killed Phillips, after ingesting the drug known as K-2 or spice that Smith sold to them in April 2018.
In all, two people died and more than 70 were sickened in the Pekin-Peoria area by a strain of the artificial drug that contained a chemical used in rat poison. Police said the strain emerged in the area in March of last year.
In Booth’s and Spires’ case, one of the sickened people told police in April 2018 that Spires was the source of the tainted drug. With a search warrant for the couple’s home police found more than 2,000 grams of synthetic marijuana, 435 bags of it packaged for delivery and $6,000 in cash, court records stated.