suntimes
SUITABLE 
Weather Updates

Florida man headed to Chicago convicted of drug trafficking

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Jurors in central Illinois convicted a Florida pickup driver who represented himself at his trial on charges of trafficking 60 pounds of marijuana to Chicago.

“I’m sorry I have to lose any part of my life on laws I don’t agree with,” Charles Hamilton, 58, told jurors on Tuesday before his guilty verdicts were announced. He wore jeans, a T-shirt and a belt.

“I did come into your state with this stuff in my truck,” Hamilton said, pointing to six large brown bags filled with drugs sitting in the courtroom. Jurors convicted him of marijuana trafficking and driving on a suspended license.

Prosecutors accused Hamilton of stashing the drugs in a spare fuel tank. Illinois State Police arrested him on Interstate 55 north of Bloomington in November 2011.

Hamilton spoke to the jury for about a half hour, telling them he gave a state trooper permission to inventory items in his truck but then withdrew permission.

“They had no right to take the truck,” Hamilton said. “I never gave permission to have my truck dismantled.”

Hamilton also helped select the jury and took the stand as a witness. The judge told jurors that Hamilton was using his constitutional right to represent himself.

He faces between 12 and 60 years in prison at sentencing April 30.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.