GALLIPOLIS — A Huntington, W.Va., man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the first-degree felony of trafficking roughly 80 grams of heroin. The plea was entered in the Gallia Court of Common Pleas after an early April traffic stop.
According to Gallia Prosecutor Jason Holdren, Dionte Simpson, 25, was found with 78.9 grams of heroin mixed with fentanyl. When discovered, the initial bag was weighed around 80 grams and with the removal of moisture and the bag in which it was kept, the weight measurement was less from lab results.
“The whole compound mixture (is measured),” said Holdren about heroin lab testing. “If it’s got heroin in it, you’re sunk….Officers are trained to look at drugs and can generally tell what’s meth or cocaine or heroin. Fentanyl looks like heroin. So, when it’s mixed in with heroin, you can’t tell. Because of its potency, that’s why (officers) are getting away from field testing.”
Holdren said officers could potentially overdose from just skin contact with fentanyl.
“Simpson’s (riding companion) had the drugs in her pants and Simpson said ‘These are my drugs,’” Holdren said after the pair had been pulled over by Ohio State Patrol Trooper Matt Atwood.
Atwood reportedly noticed a vehicle “going 60 in a 70” on US Route 35. Simpson’s companion was supposedly driving closely to the steering wheel. Holdren said there was so much dirt on the license plate of the vehicle that the trooper could not initially identify the plate characters.
Atwood patted down the driver and would encounter a bulge. Simpson reportedly indicated the drugs were his, said Holdren.
“He called it ‘dogfood,’ which his slang for heroin,” said Holdren.
“As a result of our (the Gallia Sheriff and Prosecutor’s Office) aggressive approach to these cases and having a couple trials now where these defendants have an opportunity to see what the judge is going to do on a case like this, he (Simpson) pleaded guilty,” said Holdren. “Simpson agreed to a deal for nine years (in prison)…What I find unique is that we are two months from the date of the arrest and he is going to prison. That is swift justice and we strive for that in this office. Too many times we see cases drag on. My philosophy has been to get these cases processed as quickly as possible and get a good resolution to protect the county and hold the offender accountable.”
Simpson is set to be sentenced June 27.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.