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Judge sentences major drug dealer responsible for opioid epidemic in Ohio county to 34 years prison

November 9, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Judge sentences major drug dealer responsible for opioid epidemic in Ohio county to 34 years prison

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On Monday, an Ohio man alleged to be one of the dealers behind the unprecedented opioid epidemic now overtaking Sandusky County was sentenced to 34 years behind bars.

Sporting an orange prison jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled, 42-year-old Keith Nettles, smiled from ear to ear as he entered Sandusky County Common Pleas Court for his sentencing on charges of heroin and cocaine trafficking.

As Nettles sat waiting for the judge to issue his sentence, he turned around and started waving and blowing kisses to the crowd of over 30 friends and family, The News Messenger reported.

Despite being sentenced by Sandusky County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Hart to 34 years behind bars, Nettles did not stop smiling as he waved the crowd when being taken out of the courtroom.

Nettles said he intends to appeal his case because many witnesses who testified lied on the stand during his four-day trial that concluded on October 27th.

“You knew the risk and toll it would take,” Hart said, referring to Nettles’ drug dealing. “I have known you for a long time when you were selling drugs, and I was the city prosecutor.”

Hart stopped for several moments before adding Nettles’ sentence and then issued the 34-year sentenced for the 42-year-old.

“You’ve ruined the lives of this community,” Hart added. “Testimony suggests you were one of the ones who introduced heroin into this community.”

Keith Nettles, who was responsible for the unprecedented opioid epidemic now plaguing Sandusky County was sentenced to 34 years in prison

Hart noted that he believed in second chances, but said that the man’s actions were deliberate.

Nettles’ defense lawyer, David Klucas, suggested Nettles receive similar sentences to others with whom Nettles was indicted in 2015.

Nettles was one of twelve suspects from Fremont indicted through a multi-agency probe that led to Nettles being indicted on 37 felonies.

While speaking to Hart, Klucas also pointed to all the friends and family who were present to support Nettles, at his trial and during his sentencing.

“People don’t come out to support someone who has no qualities worth supporting,” Klucas stated.

“Harward Jones had more charges, and got 13 years,” Klucas said.

Though Jones was indicted on 95 charges, Ohio Attorney General Prosecutor Chris Kinsler said Jones’ crimes were lower-level felonies and that Jones worked underneath Nettles in the drug enterprise.

When determining the 34-year sentence, Hart clarified that he wanted to give Nettles a sentence similar to someone in the position.

“All these other dealers worked for you, or someone like you,” Hart said. “Your mother can visit you in prison, but mothers in this community have to visit their sons and daughters and lay their head on tombstones hoping for justice.”

Nettles was found guilty by a Sandusky County jury on 11 felony charges and was found not guilty of two counts of cocaine trafficking and not guilty of aggravated funding of drug trafficking.

Kinsler added that Nettles also faces a federal case in Michigan related to his conviction in Sandusky County.

Kinsler said Nettles was bringing cocaine and heroin into Sandusky County through Michigan and was spreading the drugs to local dealers.

“He was a major player in a short time,” Kinsler continued. “It was 30 days, but he was bringing in 100 grams of cocaine into the city.”

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