Former Sterling man gets 23 years for dealing crack cocaine

ROCKFORD – A former Sterling man was sentenced Monday to 23 years in federal prison for dealing crack cocaine in Rock Falls.

Julian Wyre, 46, of Chicago, was convicted Dec. 14 in federal court in Rockford of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, or crack, and seven counts of distribution of cocaine base from June through Nov. 1, 2019.

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

There is no parole in the federal court system.

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.

Gladhill pleaded guilty on Jan. 31, 2023, to conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.

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

She was to have been sentenced May 22, 2023, but as of Monday was living in Rock Falls on pretrial release, awaiting sentencing, according to federal court records.

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

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

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 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. He was caught with about 6.9 grams of rock cocaine in his 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 pandemic, paralegal specialist Benjamin Prutz said.

On Feb. 26, 2002, Wyre was sentenced to eight years in Whiteside County for dealing cocaine.

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.