Dayton man in Fayette County trafficking network sent to prison

By Ashley Bunton -

A man admitted Wednesday to selling heroin in a drug trafficking network across Fayette County and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Albert L. Francis Jr., aka “Manny,” appeared in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas with his attorney, Griff Nowicki, and plead guilty to a list of charges that were filed against him by prosecutors after a lengthy criminal investigation was conducted.

There were 14 charges total in an indictment handed down by a Fayette County grand jury Sept. 9, 2016. The 36-year-old former Dayton man plead guilty to four drug-related charges in the indictment as part of an agreed upon plea and sentence that was negotiated jointly by prosecutors and Francis and his attorney, Nowicki. The 10 remaining charges, of various degrees of drug trafficking, were dismissed by the state as part of the agreement.

John Scott and Sean Abbott, assistant Fayette County prosecutors, represented the state of Ohio in the case. Fayette County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven Beathard presided over the case.

During Wednesday’s plea hearing, Francis plead to count one of the indictment, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony; count two, aggravated trafficking in drugs, fentanyl, a third-degree felony; count seven, trafficking in drugs, heroin, in the vicinity of a school, a felony of the fourth degree; and count 14, trafficking in drug heroin, a fifth-degree felony.

Beathard ordered Francis to serve a mandatory three-year prison term on the felony of the first degree, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

“You have a prior conviction of a second-degree drug trafficking charge in this county in 2006,” said Beathard during the sentencing. “Because of that conviction, that makes your conviction for count one, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a mandatory prison sentence. A mandatory prison sentence means there is not a reduction in that sentence for any good time served. That sentence is served day to day.”

Francis acknowledged that he understood the terms of the mandatory sentence.

Francis had three days of local jail time credit applied to the seven-year sentence.

“It’s a seven-year sentence. The first three years are to be served day for day. After three years, in the remaining four years, you may be entitled to earn good-time credit based on participation and conduct, but that decision is left up to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction,” said Beathard.

According to the state, there was no cash forfeiture.

The investigation into the drug trafficking network was conducted by detectives working with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and the confidential informants with the U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task Force. According to the records filed with the court, Francis sold the drugs to an undercover informant who, on at least two occasions, was driven by a detective to 511 E. Temple St., Apt. 9 in Washington C.H., to make the purchases from Francis.

In another recorded incident, the undercover informant, again driven by a detective working on the case, met Francis in a car wash bay in Washington C.H. to purchase heroin.

Francis was one of nine people indicted Sept. 9, 2016 who were identified as allegedly working within a loose network to distribute heroin and opioids in the county.

Some of the other defendants charged in the investigation have plead to their charges and received sentences: Sean K. McKittrick, Alissa K. Bonecutter, Carla A. Doctor, Rita F. Groves, and Raymond E. Baker. Three other defendants allegedly involved are still yet to enter a plea or sentence: Nathanial Stroud, Larry Young and Derrick Thomas.

The maximum sentence that Francis could have received on all charges was 16-and-a-half years in prison. He was placed in the custody of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office following his plea and sentence hearing Wednesday and was transported Thursday to Corrections Reception Center in Orient to commence his sentence.

By Ashley Bunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton