Man arrested in meth case while awaiting sentencing on earlier meth case

RANTOUL — A Penfield man awaiting sentencing for methamphetamine and weapons-related crimes has been arrested again for a methamphetamine-related offense.

Brian Wernigk, 33, was charged Wednesday, Jan. 13, with possession of between 20 and 100 grams of methamphetamine precursors, a Class X felony, following his Jan. 12 arrest in Rantoul for an alleged shoplifting.

Two people with him — Joshua Sadler, 20, of Paxton, and Samantha Jo Morgan, 28, of Hoopeston — were also charged with the same felony offense. If convicted, Sadler and Morgan face six to 30 years in prison. It would be an even longer sentence for Wernigk if he is convicted because he was out on bond for another offense.

Rantoul Police Sgt. Justin Bouse said police were summoned to the Dollar General store, 304 E. Sangamon Ave., just after 8:30 p.m. for a report of possible shoplifters.
Bouse said Wernigk was stopped as he was leaving the store and about to get in a car. He admitted that he had stolen bandannas from the store.

Following his arrest for the theft, officers searched Wernigk and found items consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine, including batteries, bottle caps with holes in them and a glass smoking pipe, Bouse said.

In the back seat of the car, police found a backpack that contained glass jars with clear liquid, plastic bottles with an off-white substance and a plastic jug with white residue, all believed to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Bouse said Sadler and Morgan were also in the car.

Wernigk pleaded guilty on Dec. 8 before Judge Tom Difanis to aggravated manufacture of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a firearm, admitting he had a shotgun and a meth lab in his Penfield home last April.

At the time of the plea, the state agreed not to seek a sentence in excess of 15 years in prison for the Class X felony. However, with his arrest, that deal could be revoked and he could face the whole 30 years. Difanis had set sentencing for Feb. 9.

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