LISBON - An East Liverpool man was scheduled to be sentenced on drug trafficking-related charges this week in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
However, Jason N. Barnes was unable to attend due to federal drug-related charges and his reported incarceration in the Columbus area.
According to the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office, a year-long investigation led to the indictment of 21 people involved in an alleged drug trafficking conspiracy.
Among the indictees, most of whom were people living in the Columbus area, was Barnes, 26, of Ashland Avenue, East Liverpool. He is listed as being charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, oxycodone, 280 grams or more of cocaine base and marijuana. Additionally, he was reportedly charged with use of a communication facility in committing, causing or facilitating the commission of a felony.
Barnes is facing between 10 years to life for the first charge, along with up to a $10 million fine. Additionally he faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the second charge.
When asked this week by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike about the whereabouts of the defendant, defense attorney Douglas King said his office had received a phone call from an attorney in the Columbus area, Richard Cline, alerting him that Barnes would be unable to make it for Monday's hearing. King said the caller informed him Barnes was currently in the Delaware County jail facing federal charges. Delaware County is just north of Franklin County, where Columbus is located.
A status conference has been scheduled for Jan. 27 in the hopes of learning when Barnes can return here for sentencing. He pleaded guilty to eight drug-related charges in November.
Two counts of drug trafficking and two counts of drug possession were from 2012. On Sept. 27, 2012, court documents state he had 19 individually packaged bags of heroin and 35 individual packages of cocaine. He was also found to have transaction ledgers and scales at his home when a search warrant was executed.
Additionally, investigators reportedly found amphetamine and buprenorphine in the home on the same date. A specification was issued for all four counts due to the digital scales used for shipment or distribution and $180.
Four new charges were issued by the county grand jury in November and Barnes had agreed to plead to them immediately when he was served. Those charges were for drug trafficking for selling or offering for sale less than five grams of cocaine on July 16, 2013. Additionally, he was charged with three new counts of drug possession for cocaine, hydrocodone and oxycodone in his possession on Aug. 15, 2013.