Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Judge William T. Marshall sentenced a Columbus man, Aaron Burkes, 26, to 16 years in prison for possession, trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in crack cocaine Monday.
Burkes came to a jury trial in the Scioto County Courthouse, but entered a plea of guilty as the jury waited in the hallway.
Burkes was indicted after the vehicle he was riding in was stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Ohio 104 in Scioto County on March 17.
The Scioto County Grand Jury also indicted the driver of the vehicle, Lovando Kenny, and a passenger, Ernest Show, also both of Columbus, for possession, trafficking and conspiracy.
Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said a tip to his office led to the arrests and the seizure of 40 grams of crack cocaine and a Geo Tracker.
“This is a common situation with Columbus drug dealers taking advantage of addicts in Scioto County,” said investigator Blaine Duduit of the prosecuting attorney's office. “The evidence would show that Burkes repeatedly bought crack from Columbus and sold it from the houses of addicts out in the county. They go into the houses, pay the addicts in crack, then stay there and set up shop. They were selling to five or six cars an hour while they were there. They were making about two or three trips a week. Columbus drug dealers can double their money in Scioto County.”
Burkes was released from the federal penitentiary in July 2006, after serving a sentence for fraud. Co-defendant Shaw is presently in Ohio State Penitentiary on another drug-related charge and will be tried on Sept. 10.
“This arrest and conviction reflects the highway patrol's aggressive pursuits of drug interdiction in southeastern Ohio,” Kuhn said. “The Scioto County post has stepped up its efforts and made some very good arrests. The cooperation between the law enforcement agencies has been excellent.”
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.