Spring Grove man pleads guilty to 'calculated criminal conspiracy' of marijuana, gets 180 days in jail, probation

  • Austin Hird

    Austin Hird

Updated 5/18/2023 11:48 AM

A 20-year-old Spring Grove man pleaded guilty Wednesday to "calculated criminal conspiracy" in dealing marijuana and was sentenced to 180 days in county jail and two years of probation with special conditions, according to documents in the McHenry County courthouse.

Austin Hird was initially charged with possession and manufacturing and delivery of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana, a Class X felony, as well as calculated criminal marijuana conspiracy, according to the indictment.


Had he been convicted on the most serious Class X charge he could have been sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

Hird was charged last year along with Liam Keegan, 22, and Jade D. McGuire, 20, both of McHenry, and Michael Strauss, 20, of Spring Grove.

Keegan and McGuire who lived together in the apartment where they were arrested on Feb. 9, 2022, and where there was a 1-year-old child, have since had their cases adjudicated. In addition to serious drug-related charges, Keegan and McGuire also were charged with child endangerment.

When arrested, police seized cocaine, marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms and three firearms from the apartment.

According to a prosecutor's motion, Strauss admitted to police that the items stored at the McHenry apartment were his. Strauss is set to plead on June 13, authorities said.

Strauss is charged with manufacturing and delivery of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana and between 15 and 100 grams of cocaine, each a Class X felony, in addition to possession of cocaine and marijuana, criminal conspiracy, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition without a firearms owners identification card, according to court documents.

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In determining Hird's sentence, Judge Tiffany Davis found that he has no criminal history, his criminal conduct neither caused nor threatened serious physical harm to another, his conduct was caused by circumstances unlikely to recur, and his character and attitude indicate he is likely to comply with the terms of probation, according to court documents.

Hird, who had been out of county jail on bond was taken into custody Wednesday after entering into the negotiated plea. He is required to serve 50% of his jail time and will receive credit for 10 days already served after his arrest last year.

He must abstain from using illegal substances and alcohol, obtain a substance abuse evaluation and follow all recommendations, according to the sentencing document.

He also is required to pay $4,340 in fines and fees.

Hird's attorney, Frederick Day, declined to comment Wednesday.

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