MILLERSBURG -- For admittedly selling methamphetamine, which he thought was cocaine, to a confidential informant working with the Holmes County Sheriff's Office, a Killbuck man faces up to three years in prison.
Bradlee Allen Clark, 20, of 3532 State Route 60, pleaded guilty Thursday, March 9, in Holmes County Common Pleas Court to three reduced charges of trafficking in cocaine.
In exchange for Clark's guilty plea, the state agreed to remove specifications enhancing the charges because the transactions occurred in the vicinity of a school, which reduced the maximum penalty from 7° years to four years in prison.
Clark, who also faces fines of up to $12,500 and a mandatory driver's license suspension of up to five years, also agreed to pay back $410 in buy money associated with all three transactions.
Holmes County Assistant Prosecutor Steve Knowling said he agreed to the reduction because Clark has no prior criminal convictions. He also said he would not oppose a non-prison sentence, if recommended by the Holmes County Adult Probation Department.
The charges stem from deals occurring on July 26, 28 and 29, according to Knowling, who said that Clark offered to sell cocaine to the informant and eventually delivered, for the negotiated price, methamphetamine. In all three instances, Clark handled the drugs and the money.
His is one of several cases in which similar misrepresentations were made.
The discrepancy was identified when the purchased product tested negative for cocaine, according to LEAD Task Force Commander Joe Mullet. However, references to "chards," a term associated with crystal meth, prompted lab analysis, which tested positive for meth.
Based on intelligence gathered and similarities in the four cases, Mullet said, it is believed all four cases are connected, and the investigation continues and charges are pending against the man thought to be the local source of the drugs involved.
Clark said he believed the drugs to be cocaine, even though he had also used them; nevertheless, he said, he has been clean since July.
At the prompting of Judge Robert Rinfret, acknowledging the presence of Clark's girlfriend and their infant child in the courtroom, Clark said he stopped using when he learned he would become a father.
Clark, now free from incarceration on bond, is set to return to court for sentencing on April 20. In the meantime, Rinfret warned him, "Don't do anything stupid ... I don't want to send you to prison, but I will."
Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.