With luck, Nathan Walker will be freed from prison for making and selling meth in Tazewell and Fulton counties by the time he turns 25.

Walker, 19, of Farmington, has not seen much good fortune in his life, his federal judge said Wednesday before sentencing him to a five-year term.

With little parental oversight, “He was on the streets at age 8” and spent most of his youth “in a drug culture. His fate was pre-ordained,” said U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade.

That past played a role in a plea agreement that produced a term less than the federal sentencing guideline range of 6 1/2 to eight years for conspiracy to make meth, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Murphy said in Walker’s sentence hearing in Peoria’s federal court.

The term also will run concurrently with any sentence Walker receives if he’s convicted of separate meth-manufacturing charges, the most serious punishable by six to 30 years in state prison, that’s pending in Fulton County, Murphy said.

He must serve at least 85 percent of his federal term but was given credit for time in custody since his arrest last February.

Walker was one of three people federally charged last March after an investigation, begun by Pekin detectives, uncovered the ring that involved at least 15 other people and produced at least 71 grams of the highly addictive drug, according to court records.

Walker pleaded guilty in August. Last month Robin Collier, 32, of Creve Coeur, was sentenced to about 6 1/2 years following his guilty plea in July. Prosecution against Shadow Jennings, 21, also of Farmington, is on hold pending her performance in a federal drug court program.

The investigation led to a raid at Collier’s home at 472 Hillcrest St., where items used in meth-cooking labs and evidence of multiple cooks were found.

While none of the other alleged ring members was federally charged, several cooperated with police in the investigation. They allegedly bought over-the-counter cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient for meth, for the defendants’ meth cooks.

McDade warned Walker he could face a significantly longer prison term, either in federal or state court, if he’s convicted of a serious drug charge again after his prison release.

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