Member of major drug ring gets 8 years

By Frank Lewis

October 2, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

A Cincinnati man has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty on trafficking in heroin and cocaine charges. Antwan Criswell, 32, had waived a jury trial and was tried Wednesday by Scioto County Common Pleas Judge Howard H. Harcha, III.

Criswell was convicted on four of five counts arising from a September 2012 “high risk” felony stop on U.S. 52 east bound, just west of the Portsmouth City Limits.

In August, 2012, Southern Ohio Task Force officers and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began an investigation of heroin trafficking in a local residence involving dealers from Cincinnati. On Sept. 24, 2012, officers received information that a shipment of heroin would be arriving that day. Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said officers had received information that included a warning that the men were armed and dangerous.

Task Force officers and the FBI tracked the movements of the individuals from Cincinnati to Scioto County and surrounded the vehicle. Kuhn said the Task Force officers, armed with AR 15 rifles, removed five individuals from the vehicle and seized 152 grams of heroin and 72 grams of crack cocaine. He said officers, expecting a shootout with the drug dealers, blocked traffic on U.S. 52 to keep unsuspecting travelers out of the danger area.

“This was the largest heroin seizure to that date in Scioto County,” Assistant Scioto County Prosecutor Pat Apel said. “There have been larger seizures since then, but this was a major Cincinnati drug ring operating in our county.”

Apel said Criswell had been out of prison only 13 days at the time of his arrest. He said Criswell has nine felony convictions dating back to 1999 including six trafficking convictions from Hamilton County. He said several members of the Cincinnati drug ring have been indicted by a Federal grand jury.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.