Third Person Charged in Bulk Cocaine Bust Pleads Guilty

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A third person arrested in the bust of 198 grams of cocaine has pleaded guilty to possession and trafficking charges.

Kimari Anderson, 34, of North Carolina, changed her plea in Athens County Common Pleas Court, days after the two others charged in the case pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Anderson.

Anderson was sentenced to a mandatory six years in prison, according to a news release by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.

She is also subject to a five-year license suspension.

Ebony Saunders, 31, and Travis Croson, 23, both of Virginia, pleaded guilty this week to charges of possession and trafficking in cocaine in the same case.

Croson gave a statement under oath during his court appearance Monday, saying that he was a passenger in the vehicle traveling to Ohio from Virginia.

He said he witnessed cocaine usage on Nov. 7, before the vehicle he was riding in was pulled over in The Plains by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Anderson had been driving the car with Saunders in the front passenger seat, Croson told the court.

When the car was pulled over, Anderson threw a bag of what Croson thought was cocaine at Saunders to hide, he said.

Saunders was sentenced Jan. 10 to six years in prison and Croson will serve four years with no eligibility for early release in either case.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said the sentencings should send a message to local drug dealers and users.

“We’re going to help those who are addicted who want help and we’re going to put away those that are trying to sell or bring the drugs into our county,” Blackburn said Wednesday.

The prison sentences also come one week after a Cutler man pleaded guilty to having nearly 800 doses of LSD in his possession during a traffic stop.

Jeremy Cutshaw, 42, was sentenced to four years in prison and a driver’s license suspension after pleading to a second-degree felony charge of possession of LSD.

An envelope containing 794 unit doses of LSD, a small baggy with white powder, drug paraphernalia, marijuana and more than $2,300 in cash were found by an Athens County Sheriff’s Office deputy in January 2013.

“It’s unique to have four mandatory sentences happen in the span of one week and I’m very proud of my office for doing that,” Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said.