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Press Release

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An Ohio man has pled guilty to a federal drug charge,  announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Robert Lamar Bates-Porter, 33, of Columbus, Ohio, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl.

“After serving five years in prison for his previous federal conviction, Bates-Porter didn’t even wait for his term of supervised release to end before picking up where he left off as a drug dealer,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Now he will be returning to federal prison where I hope he sets his sights on a different line of work upon release.”

During the late summer of 2019, the Washington County, Ohio Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) was investigating a drug trafficking organization that was bringing fentanyl and heroin from Columbus, Ohio to be distributed in and around Marietta, Ohio and Parkersburg, West Virginia. MCTF joined forces with the Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force (PNTF) to investigate the organization. Investigators identified Bates-Porter as a key member of the organization. In September 2019, Bates-Porter ordered a package of drugs to be delivered to a residence on Roselynne Avenue in Parkersburg. The package was delivered on September 12, 2019.  Bates-Porter drove from Columbus to Parkersburg and arrived at Roselynne Avenue after midnight on September 13, 2019. Shortly thereafter, PNTF personnel executed a search warrant at the residence where they found Bates-Porter in the basement preparing to open the drug package. Officers seized the package which contained a kilogram of fentanyl. Later the same day, police in Columbus, Ohio executed a search warrant at Bates-Porter’s residence where they seized approximately 260 grams of heroin, 94 grams of cocaine, and a small quantity of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. 

At the time of his arrest, Bates-Porter was on federal supervised release for a 2014 conviction in the Southern District of West Virginia for possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. At the plea hearing, he admitted that he took possession of the package and intended to distribute the drugs inside which he claimed to believe was heroin.   

In addition to facing 10 years to life in prison for the fentanyl charge, Bates-Porter also faces up to five years for violating the terms of his supervised release when he is sentenced on September 23, 2020.

The Washington County Major Crimes Task Force, the Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Columbus, Ohio Police Department conducted the investigation. Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. presided over the hearing.  Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Hanks handled the prosecution.


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Updated June 25, 2020

Drug Trafficking