An East St. Louis resident reoffended in the federal system which has cost him his 20 years of life. James T. Keel, 31 was out on federal supervised release when in 2017, he was caught selling cocaine from a house in East St. Louis. United States District Judge Staci M. Yandle has sentenced him to 210 months in prison.
The 210 months sentencing will run consecutively to the 27.5-month sentence Keel had already received back in February for violating the terms of his supervised release. In 2012, Keel was originally prosecuted for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute 30 grams of crack cocaine. In June 2012, he was convicted and sentenced to 70 months. He began serving a term of supervised release in May 2016.
In September and October 2017, undercover agents working with the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southern Illinois (MEGSI) and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office purchased crack cocaine from Keel on four occasions. A search warrant was served on his residence. The agents recovered 95 grams of powder cocaine, 64 grams of crack cocaine, 7 firearms, and over $17,000 in cash.
It was found that Keel had been selling drugs out of the house for over 9 months before he was caught. Judge Yandle handed the 210 months imprisonment and emphasized the need to protect the public from Keel and deter others who are part of the ongoing drug epidemic plaguing our society.
At his sentencing hearing, Keel testified that he didn’t sell as much cocaine as the agents claimed. However, the Judge found his testimony “disingenuous” as it contradicted what he told investigators during a videotaped interview. Keel illegal guns and length of time of selling drugs was also pointed out by Judge Yandle.