Two drug dealers plead guilty

Cary Ashby • Jun 25, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Two drug defendants were convicted of separate crimes Wednesday in Huron County Common Pleas Court.

Keith A. Wilhelm, 22, formerly of 8 Harkness St., pleaded guilty to trafficking in marijuana for a Feb. 11 incident. Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said the defendant sold 874 grams of dope to two confidential informants and admitted to the sales when the Norwalk Police Department used a search warrant at his home.

Starting Feb. 2 after getting a tip about "a major marijuana trafficker in this area," detectives said they started making numerous buys from various suspects. Police seized more than $16,000 in suspected drug money and between 4 and 5 pounds of marijuana during one of the drug raids when Wilhelm was arrested.

The investigation was done in coordination with METRICH and the 10-county drug task force's local contact, Huron County Sheriff's Capt. Bob McLaughlin. During part of the probe, 11 Norwalk officers were in unmarked cars keeping surveillance on the suspects.

Woodruff recommended Wilhelm spend up to six months in a community-based corrections facility (CBCF) as part of the plea deal. CBCFs are a form of prison which focus on education and substance abuse treatment.

Wilhelm, who remains free on bond, will be sentenced Aug. 11. The court rescheduled the hearing by one day because Aug. 10 is the birthday of the defendant's son.

In a different drug case Wednesday, Phyllis J. Butler, 55, formerly of 41 E. Washington St., pleaded guilty to two amended counts of trafficking in Oxycodone. In exchange, the state agreed to dismiss a third, similar charge. Butler, who remains free on bond, will be sentenced Aug. 11.

Butler, when asked in court Wednesday if she were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, said she's been taking Vicodin and Oxycodone by her doctor's orders for a 2001 work-related back injury.

The woman sold six grams of Oxycodone to a confidential informant Sept. 1, Woodruff said.

"The pills weren't mine; they were my brother's," Butler told the court.

"There is no allegation of theft of drugs," Judge Jim Conway said in response.

In a third case Wednesday, Jason A. Atkins, 34, of 117 E. Walton St., Willard, pleaded guilty to two counts of non-support of dependents. In exchange, the state agreed to dismiss two similar charges for offenses covering Aug. 1, 2007 through July 31, 2009.

"He was working and paying (child support) at the time he was given the indictment ... after a prolonged period of unemployment," Huron County Assistant Public Defender David Longo said.

Woodruff said the state wouldn't be opposed to probation if Atkins continues to make child-support payments and maintain his employment. The defendant, who remains free on bond, will be sentenced Aug. 10.

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