'Operation Saddle Up' nets 77 total arrests for meth manufacturing conspiracy

By Audrey Williams

August 16, 2012 Updated Nov 1, 2013 at 4:14 PM CDT

LEWISTOWN, Ill -- Authorities in west central Illinois are touting the most recent success of a major drug operation.

Six more defendants were arrested Wednesday on charges of methamphetamine manufacturing conspiracy as a result of the ongoing "Operation Saddle Up" investigation.

To date, this brings a total of 77 defendants charged as a result of the operation. Officials add nearly a third or more of those arrests stem from Fulton County.

Thursday, law enforcement officials announced the arrests of Joseph Allen Phelps, 27, of Ipava; Ryan Lynn Mills, 25, of Havana; Jacob Charles Putman, 23, of Canton; Brian Lee Fulton, 28, of Lewistown; Matthew Lee Williamson, 27, of Canton; and Mitchell Gideon Williamson, 28, of Canton.

Officials say they are working with a spider web of intermingled people and they have taken out some majors players that make meth in our area.

"That's were you'll get a lot of your conspiracy because you'll get multiple people going to out get the pseudoephedrine to bring to one cook, now they're all involved in this conspiracy," said Jeff Jacobs with the Illinois State Police.

Mills, Putman, Fulton, and Matthew Williamson are expected in Federal court in Peoria Friday. Phelps and Mitchel Williamson are due in court August 24.

If convicted, the defendants face 10 years to life in prison.

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