Springfield Gang Member Sentenced to Federal Prison For Drug Trafficking

By Benjamin Cox on June 15, 2023 at 4:34am

A Springfield man involved in a long history of criminal activity who led authorities on a high speed chase through Sangamon, Morgan, and Greene County in 2021 was sentenced to federal prison on Tuesday.

37-year old Vonta Commer, a purported street gang member, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison followed by 5 years of mandatory supervised release for drug distribution charges on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Colleen Lawless.

WCIA says the government presented evidence during the case that said that Commer possessed over five pounds of methamphetamine on March 1, 2022, and had been selling similar quantities for several months.

In May 2021, Commer led authorities on a high speed chase through Sangamon, Morgan, and Greene County after refusing to pull over for a traffic stop for Illinois State Police after they allegedly observed traffic violations on Interstate 72. Commer was eventually stopped after a high speed chase down Illinois Route 267. Greene County authorities performed a pit maneuver on Commer’s 2020 Nissan just north of the Illinois Route 108 intersection and took him into custody. Commer would plead guilty to aggravated fleeing of police in August 2021 and was sentenced to 1 year of conditional discharge plus fines, fees, and court costs.

The plea was also pending deferred prosecution in Sangamon County Court on charges of armed habitual criminal, manufacture and delivery of methamphetamine, and possession of a weapon by a felon charges. Commer was also wanted in May 2021 for a parole violation and a Sangamon County traffic warrant.

Commer was indicted by a federal grand jury in March of last year as part of The Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative.

Commer has an extensive criminal history, including convictions for armed robbery, battery and drug distribution. Federal prosecutors said during yesterday’s case that Commer started dealing drugs again while he was on parole for a 2013 state conviction for drug distribution, for which he had been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Sangamon County Circuit Court.

Commer was arrested by federal authorities in March of 2022 and has remained in custody since then. On Jan. 6 of this year, prosecutors said he pleaded guilty to a single charge of possessing 50 or more grams of meth with intent to distribute. Commer could have faced up to life imprisonment as well as a possible $1 million fine.