Suspects in last month’s meth arrest have preliminary hearings pushed back

By Blake Schnitker on September 5 at 12:43pm

The pair of Jacksonville residents arrested several weeks ago in one of the biggest meth busts in recent history had their preliminary hearings today.

Twenty-nine year old Ashley Cozart and forty-three year old Albert Charlesworth, both of the 300 block of Marnico, were arrested by Morgan County Deputies and Illinois State Police on August 24th for possession with intent to deliver 400 to 900 grams of methamphetamine.

Originally scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Morgan County court today, Cozart and Charlesworth’s cases were both continued until next Tuesday, September 12th at 9 a.m.

Morgan County State’s Attorney says the reasoning for the continuance was due to the fact that Cozart’s attorney was unable to make it to today’s preliminary hearing, and in turn, Charlesworth’s hearing was continued as well.

Given the substantial amount of methamphetamine allegedly involved in the case, Cozart and Charlesworth could potentially face significant sentences. As for what they could receive once tried, Noll explains the possible penalties the two defendants could face.

“The charges have remained the same, a preliminary hearing will be held next week. The sentencing range for that particular offense is nine to fifty years in the Illinois Department of Corrections followed by a three-year period of mandatory supervised release. It’s a little too early to tell whether or not these will be tried at the same time, it kind of depends on whether or not the defenses are antagonistic or not. They could definitely be tried together, or they could be severed and have two separate trials,” Noll explains.

With local police agencies making a number of meth-related arrests recently, Noll discusses shares his thoughts on whether or not there’s a trend of methamphetamine use in the community.

“Our community certainly has a problem with individuals using and selling methamphetamine. I think that it ebbs and flows, there are certainly times where we see a decrease in use and at times we see upticks in usage. This is certainly a large amount of methamphetamine to be brought into our county, larger than I’ve seen since I’ve become State’s Attorney,” says Noll.

Both Cozart and Charlesworth remain lodged at the Morgan County jail.