Southern Ohio man sentenced in heroin ring

By Frank Lewis

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A southern Ohio man is one of two more people who have been sentenced for their roles in a Detroit to Huntington heroin conspiracy. Coty S. Richardson, 24, of South Point, Ohio, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in federal prison after previously pleading guilty to attempting to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.

Kenneth E. Baxter, 25, of Detroit, was sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison after previously pleading guilty to distributing heroin.

According to United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, the two men participated in a heroin conspiracy between 2012 and 2014 and as a result of their pleas, were sentenced Monday in federal court in Huntington, West Virginia.

From November 2012 to December 8, 2014, Goodwin said Baxter led a conspiracy that involved the transportation of heroin from Detroit to Huntington for distribution. Once in Huntington, Baxter provided heroin to others, including Richardson, for distribution from multiple residences in the Huntington area. Baxter was also personally engaged in the drug deals, and sold heroin to confidential informants on four separate occasions between April and December of 2014.

One of the residences secured by the group was at 403 Homestead Place in Huntington. Richardson reportedly arranged for the lease of the residence, and the residence was used to prepare and distribute heroin. On December 6, 2014, a postal inspector with the United States Postal Inspection Service intercepted a package addressed to the residence containing approximately 230 grams of heroin. Agents delivered the package that day and executed a search warrant at the residence after the package was accepted. Upon entering the residence, agents said they observed Richardson throwing the package from a second floor window. When Richardson was arrested, agents seized heroin, paraphernalia used to package and distribute heroin, and firearms from the residence.

Multiple defendants have been convicted of federal drug charges due to this investigation, including Paul A. Roberts, who pleaded guilty to maintaining a residence for the distribution of heroin in March 2015, Dustin S. Barton, who pleaded guilty to distributing heroin in August 2015, and Sean L. Gist, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin in September 2015. The investigation has also resulted in prison sentences for additional defendants for their roles in this conspiracy, including Ramone L. Wells, who was sentenced to four years in federal prison, and Pricilla Lee Dylan, who was sentenced to two years and nine months in federal prison.

The Huntington FBI Drug Task Force, United States Postal Service, West Virginia State Police, and Huntington Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams handled the prosecution.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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