Former Sterling man convicted on federal cocaine charges

Two Rock Falls women also charged; one pleads guilty

ROCKFORD – A federal jury has convicted a former Sterling man of dealing crack cocaine in Rock Falls.

A sentencing date will be set for Julian Wyre, 46, of Chicago.

Wyre was convicted Thursday of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, or crack, and seven counts of distribution of cocaine base from June through Nov. 1, 2019, Morris Pasqual, the acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said in a news release Monday.

During that period, Wyre sold crack to an informant seven times, and used two people as “runners,” according to the release.

Wendy Gladhill, 57, and Nicole Smith, both of Rock Falls, were indicted on Jan. 21, 2020, along with Wyre. Each was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and with two counts of distributing crack cocaine.

Wyre was on federal supervised release at the time of this crime, after having been sentenced Nov. 6, 2008, to 17 years for possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute, according to the release.

According to a news release at the time, on May 8, 2007, Wyre was at a Sterling home when Sterling and Illinois State Police arrived with a search warrant. As officers entered the home, he jumped out of a kitchen window and ran, but was caught with seven “rocks” of crack cocaine, weighing about 6.9 grams, in his pants pocket.

Although that sentence came without parole, and he was not set to be released until at least February 2022, Wyre was pardoned and set free as a matter of compassionate release during the COVID-19 pandemic, paralegal specialist Benjamin Prutz said.

On Feb. 26, 2002, Wyre was sentenced to eight years in Whiteside County Court for dealing cocaine near a protected area.

His federal co-defendant Gladhill pleaded guilty Jan. 31 to conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.

According to her plea agreement, she would let Wyre, who weekly brought cocaine from Chicago and cooked it into rocks, store and sell the drug from her home, and also would deliver the crack to his customers. He sold about 560 grams over the period covered in the indictment.

Based on her criminal history, which includes five cocaine-related convictions in Whiteside County from 1994 to 2012, and her cooperation with prosecutors, Gladhill faces seven years, three months to nine years in federal prison, per sentencing guidelines, or up to 20 years at the discretion of the judge.

She was to have been sentenced May 22, but it was delayed pending the outcome of Wyre’s trial.

As of Monday, sentencing had not yet been reset.

On Nov. 16, 2021, the indictment against Smith was dismissed after she successfully met the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement, reached on Oct. 29, 2020.

In the agreement, Smith admitted to twice delivering drugs for Wyre.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.