GALLIPOLIS — A Dayton man was sentenced to eight years and 11 months in prison in the Gallia Court of Common Pleas Wednesday.
Following a one-day jury trial, Michael Cook, 49, of Dayton, was convicted of Possession of Cocaine, a felony of the fifth-degree; Possession of Heroin, a felony of the third-degree; Trafficking in Heroin, a felony of the third-degree; and Tampering with Evidence, a felony of the third-degree, according to Gallia Prosecutor Jason Holdren last week. He was sentenced to six years in prison for those charges. He also pleaded guilty to previously unresolved heroin trafficking and failure to appear in court charges, Wednesday. Cook received a year each on the previously unresolved charges.
Cook was pulled over with a female passenger on Jackson Pike, Oct. 10, 2014, said Holdren, when a vehicle was observed with too dark of window tint by Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Trelka. Trelka followed the vehicle Cook was driving into the parking lot of a restaurant on Jackson Pike before stepping out of his cruiser to speak with Cook and the passenger as they exited a white pickup.
Per dash camera video footage, when Trelka leaned over to speak into a shoulder-mounted radio, Cook faced away from him and tossed a baggy over the backside of the truck to its opposite side. According to the prosecutor, a restaurant patron would eventually exit the restaurant, pointing out the baggy to the trooper. Upon inspection and measurement, roughly 8.3 grams of heroin were discovered in the baggy, divided into 22 smaller baggies. One cocaine baggy was discovered with reportedly .5 grams of cocaine.
Trelka questioned Cook and Cook reportedly said he was an informant for the DEA and FBI and to bring drugs to a local apartment complex. Law enforcement did not find information to corroborate Cook’s statement.
Cook also had a previous community control violation in Gallia before he encountered law enforcement in October 2014 and had reportedly failed to appear for that same charge in the Gallia Court of Common Pleas. From that, he was sentenced to 11 months.
“He has drug trafficking convictions from all over Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky,” said Holdren. “He is a career drug dealer. The important thing to note here is that these are all low level felonies…The highest is an F-3 (third-degree felony). To get a nearly nine year sentence on low level felonies is a big win for the law enforcement community. This guy has taken drugs and trafficked in three states and in every corner of Ohio, he’s been there. His record is that extensive. To take those low level felonies, we draw a hard line and say either you’re going accept responsibility or we are going to continue to stack these cases up and try them and have these trials and hold you accountable because you refuse to accept responsibility for you actions, we’ll do it, and we did (with Cook).”
Cook has reportedly had continued criminal issues in Meigs County.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.