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Obama commutes local man’s sentence

Submitted by Carbondale Times on

Carbondale Times

The 30-year prison sentence for a Carbondale man convicted of conspiracy to distribute pot was among nearly a hundred President Obama commuted last week.

The White House announced Dec. 18 that Obama is commuting the 360-month prison sentence of Edward B. Betts of Carbondale, which began in 1992.

Obama’s commutation grant now ends Betts’ prison sentence on April 16, 2016. Betts, now 64, has been serving his sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion.

Betts’ commutation was among 95 nationally and nine from Illinois announced Dec. 18. All of those from Illinois were convicted of non-violent drug offenses.

Court records show that in 1990, officers with the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group executed a search warrant at a motel in Marion, found Betts convulsing on the floor and summoned medical assistance.

Three days later, Betts was interviewed at the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department, revealing that he had made several trips to Texas at the behest of a known drug kingpin to pick up marijuana in quantities of 20 pounds or more.

In January 1992, a grand jury returned an indictment alleging that Betts and others had conspired to distribute and to possess with the intent distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld Betts’ conviction and sentence in 1994.

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