EAST ST. LOUIS — Two weeks ago Carlos Darough was Alorton's fire chief and now he is headed to federal prison for 24 months.
He has had a history of arrests, according to court records. His latest troubles occurred on Oct. 18 when he ran a stop sign on his way home in Belleville. St. Clair County Sheriff's Department deputies stopped him and when they searched the truck, they found a felony amount of marijuana. Darough, 36, was driving a village-owned vehicle, which was towed and later recovered by the village.
Darough, of Belleville, was arrested and since then has admitted that the U.S. government could prove that he had violated the federal probation he was out of jail on.
Darough was in federal court Thursday in front of U.S District Judge Michael J. Reagan for revocation of his probation.
Reagan is the same judge who sentenced Darough on April 27, 2007, to 97 months. Darough was on five years supervised release. He had pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Darough sat next to his attorney wearing a beige St. Clair County Jail jumpsuit and slippers. He was shackled around his waist, hands and feet. He sat still and attentive as Reagan read his long history of legal issues, including traffic offenses. And, each time Reagan read off an offense, Darough answered with the word guilty.
Reagan asked Norman Smith, the prosecutor, if he knew how someone with a criminal record like that of Darough's could get a job as a fire chief. Smith said yes and went on to say that Alorton like other villages and cities that surround it have a lot of issues and problems.
He said there has been a cycle of public officials committing crimes and being sent to jail. And, he said he believes that politicians and city officials are more apt to hire someone with a record like Darough's because they are carrying a similar badge themselves.
While reviewing Darough's criminal history Reagan said he started getting in trouble when he was 17 years old. His first criminal offense occurred when he was 19. Reagan said judging by the number of offenses Darough has committed, it doesn't appear that any amount of jail time can get him to correct his behavior.
"No matter what jail time he gets, it's not going to change him," Reagan said.
Smith recommended the low end of the sentencing guideline, which called for 18 to 24 months because he said he and another federal agent met with Darough and his attorney "for a period of time to determine whether there were any solutions to the problems in Alorton and what those might be. Because of his ideas on potential solutions, I believe the appropriate punishment would be 18 months, followed by four years supervised release. He's probably facing two to three years on the state charges," Smith told Reagan.
"You can ask. We're in America. The first amendment lives here," Reagan said.
Todd Schultz, the defense attorney, also asked that Darough be given the low end. Reagan didn't agree.
He told Darough he had a horrible criminal history and extraordinarily poor judgment. Darough's record he said showed that he didn't think the law applied to him.
When he said he was sentencing Darough to 24 months in a federal prison, Darough, who had been sitting straight up in his chair, dropped his head and shook his head to say no. Reagan said he took into consideration that he had pleaded guilty in a timely manner, but his sentence had to promote respect for the law and deter others from committing crimes.
He said it seemed to him that even though a number of officials from Alorton, East St. Louis, Washington Park and Centreville have been sent to federal prison for various crimes, it doesn't seem to deter others from committing crimes.
"I don't know what it's going to take. It has to stop," Reagan said.
Then, he told Darough that he was mandating a condition in his sentencing that he not seek employment politically or with a state or federal agency or municipality.
Reagan said he would recommend that whatever was the punishment for the state charge not run concurrent with his sentence. But, he said he had no control over that. Schultz had asked that the state punishment not be concurrent.
Other Alorton officials have recently been charged with crimes, including Mayor Joann Reed:
* Reed is accused of sneaking a cellphone into the Alorton village jail on Feb. 3 and giving it to her niece. Reed was charged with two counts of official misconduct and two counts of bringing contraband into a penal institution. She was village clerk at the time she was charged.
* Former Alorton Mayor Randy McCallum was sentenced last year to serve 43 months in prison on federal corruption charges. He pleaded guilty to stealing $1,000 from the village and trying to deal crack cocaine.
* Former Alorton Police Chief Michael Baxton pleaded guilty last year to taking four Xbox 360 game consoles put in a car by federal agents in a sting operation. He also pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about the thefts when they confronted him. He received a one-year sentence.
* Former Assistant Centreville Police Chief Corey Allen was just sentenced by Reagan to 24 months. And, while out waiting to be sent to prison, he violated his federal bond and committed battery to a woman. She filed a police report against him. Allen was arrested and is currently being held at the St. Clair County Jail.
Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.