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Two sentenced in drug cases

September 19, 2012
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Anton M. Rich, 37, of Chicago was sentenced to one year in prison on Tuesday by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. after Rich pleaded no contest to possession of heroin.

Rich was scheduled to stand trial on the charge on Tuesday but agreed to plead no contest.

Rich was one of three Chicago people arrested by the Jefferson County Drug Task Force following a drug raid at an apartment at 2803 Sunset Blvd. on April 11.

Rich, Zakkai Z. Gibson, 34, and Sabrina Whittmon-Williams, 33, were arrested after about 70 grams of heroin were found.

Gibson was sentenced to four years in prison in July by Bruzzese after pleading guilty to one count of drug possession and two counts of having a weapon as a convicted felon. Whittmon-Williams was sentenced to one year of probation by Bruzzese after she pleaded guilty to one count of drug possession.

Gibson admitted 59.6 grams of the heroin belonged to him.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said Rich was in possession of 7.9 grams of heroin. Whittmon-Williams had a small amount of heroin, she said.

Rich pleaded no contest to preserve his appeal rights. His defense attorney, Dennis McNamara of Columbus, said Rich wasn't brought to trial in the required amount of time. Hanlin said the case's time frame was set back because of a delay in DNA evidence analysis by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. Bruzzese had ruled the speedy trial requirements didn't apply because of unforeseen delays in the state's prosecution.

Also, John E. Fowler, 40, of 3511 Orchard St., Weirton, was sentenced to nine months in prison by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson after Fowler pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and tampering with evidence.

Fowler communicated over the telephone on April 13 with a drug task force confidential informant to sell crystal methamphetamine. On the way to the sale, City Police attempted to apprehend Fowler but he tried to elude capture and hide the evidence.

The former president of the Red Knights Women's Club pleaded guilty to an amended indictment charging theft and agreed to testify against the former treasurer of the club, who is facing trial next week on a felony theft charge.

Brandi R. Blanton, 33, of 710 Trenton St., Toronto, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft. The prosecutor's office lowered the charge from a felony because of her cooperation in the case.

Maureen A. Robins, 37, 211 N. Third St., Toronto, was indicted on single counts of theft and forgery.

Her trial is scheduled for Tuesday before Henderson

The Red Knights Women's Club raises money for youth sports activities in Toronto.

Henderson ordered a presentence investigation for Blanton.

Daniel L. Sheppard Jr., 22, of 733 South St. was placed on probation for three years by Henderson after pleading guilty to carrying a concealed weapon.

City Police stopped a vehicle on June 7 on Hill Avenue in which Sheppard was a passenger. Officers patted him down and discovered a loaded .38-caliber pistol in Sheppard's clothing.

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