GALLIPOLIS — A Middleport man arrested last August in connection with one of the largest drug busts in Gallia County’s history was sentenced this week in Common Pleas Court.
Dennis C. Butcher, 61, of Middleport, was sentenced to 18 months in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections on Tuesday after pleading guilty to a third-degree felony charge of trafficking 35,830 grams of marijuana.
Butcher was arrested along with his wife, Tammy L. Butcher, 53, early Aug. 24 at their home located at 38067 Zuspan Hollow Road near the Gallia-Meigs county line.
According to the original complaint filed with the Gallipolis Municipal Court, the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, working closely with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and the Middleport Police Department, obtained a search warrant for the Butcher residence. Upon executing the warrant in August, deputies seized approximately 79 pounds of marijuana inside the residence and garage, as well as firearms and more than $750,000 in cash.
The pair later made initial appearances in Municipal Court, where they were both charged with the possession of drugs and drug trafficking. Dennis Butcher was additionally charged with having weapons under disability. Tammy Butcher’s bond was set at $50,000, 10 percent, while her husband’s bond was set at $100,000, 10 percent.
Bond was later posted for each defendant’s release from the Gallia County Jail.
In early September, both cases were bound over to Common Pleas Court, where the husband and wife were subsequently indicted by a grand jury.
Both later appeared in the Common Pleas Court on a summons on indictment and pleaded not guilty to possessing approximately 79 pounds of marijuana, as well as trafficking in drugs. Dennis Butcher also pleaded not guilty to having weapons under disability.
A proposed plea agreement against Dennis Butcher was filed in January with the clerk of courts office and, according to documents filed in the case, he agreed not to contest and to cooperate in the civil forfeiture of a $773,101, as well as a 1934 Chevrolet and currency coin proof sets.
Further, the negotiated plea says the state will agree to dismiss the charges filed against Tammy Butcher in relation to this case.
During the sentencing hearing this week, counts one and three of the indictment were dismissed in consideration of Butcher’s guilty plea to count two — trafficking in drugs.
The court further ordered the defendant forfeit a Winchester model 1894 30/30 with scope, a H&R Topper Model 158, a Remington Fieldmaster 22 and a Glenfield Model 70 22LR to the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office.
He was also ordered to pay a mandatory fine of $5,000, as well as the costs of prosecution, and was credited for five days served.
Following the hearing on Tuesday, Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins said Dennis Butcher had admitted to law enforcement that he was involved in trafficking in marijuana and that the money seized from his property was obtained through that enterprise of selling marijuana.
He further thanked Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning, Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood and the Middleport Police Department for their investigation and seizure of the marijuana and proceeds from its sale.
Adkins said the proceeds forfeited to the sheriff and prosecutor’s law enforcement trust funds are used for training, investigation, prosecuting of cases, equipment and other law enforcement purposes.
“The Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office and the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work hard to curtail illegal drug activity in Gallia County,” Adkins said.