Drug trafficking conspiracy ring faces sentencing
While the drug issue in Pendleton County has not disappeared, one of the largest drug rings in Pendleton County has been facing judges who are handing down lengthy sentences.
Greg Sydnor, the alleged ring leader, will be sentenced later in 2018 for multiple charges.
In the Eastern District of Kentucky, United States District Court on Thursday, November 8, two other parties faced Judge David Bunning.
William Todd Ramsey was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for his role. Sterling Cole Jr. was sentenced to 157 months in federal prison.
“The wheels of justice turn slow. This case has been in the justice system for over a year. It takes as long to reach the sentencing portion as it does to investigate the cases,” said Pendleton County Sheriff Craig Peoples. “This case had a lot of people involved in the conspiracy ring, and it shows the hard work of the Pendleton County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies who worked on the case.
While Ramsey and Cole know their sentences and Sydnor sits in jail awaiting his turn, two other parties have already been sentenced.
Nathaniel L. Hughes release date is September 14, 2020, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons website. He is located at FCI Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio.
Howard B. Russell release date is Februrary 19, 2027 and is serving time at Gilmer FCI in Glenville, West Virginia.
During sentencing for Ramsey, his representing attorney Dennis Aldering asked the court to consider the low end of sentencing guidelines because of his minor role in the conspiracy ring. He pointed out that Ramsey had no appreciable criminal record, raised a family that are all doing well, and was extremely remorseful. He commented that Ramsey had gotten involved in narcotics later in life which led to the relationship with Sydnor.
“Basically, I am sorry that I hurt my family. Prescription drugs led to this,” Ramsey told the court.
U. S. Attorney Tony Bracke told Judge Bunning, “Ramsey was very forthcoming on what Ramsey did and his involvement in the ring including financing. But he was not a ringleader and trading a place and funds for drugs.”
While announcing the 120 months sentencing with recommendation for it to be served in Ashland, Bunning told Ramsey that in these cases that come before his court, “There is always a triggering mechanism that snowballs into a mess. That’s what we have here.”
He added that the presence of guns in the house is a major turning point that limited any reduction of sentence for Ramsey.
“At first blush, Todd’s doing seems major but in totality of info that was not the case. Sydnor’s fingerprints are all over this case. This is a very sad situation for everyone,” he said while pointing out that in federal cases inmates are not eligible for early parole but can work to earn good time. Federal inmates must serve a minimum of 85 percent of their sentences.
In contrast of Ramsey being “somewhat unlikely to ever appear in front of the court,” according to Judge Bunning, Cole was one of the worst offenders he had ever had appear in his courtroom.
“It’s a sad commentary,” Bunning said about Cole being in and out of state court since he was 12 years old.
He commented that across gender and race, the one thing that stood out was a lack of formal education. Cole had dropped out of school, and the judge in his sentencing would push for GED consideration.
According to the court, Cole had a “very lengthy criminal record” with 12 prior felonies.
“A shorter sentence will not curtail your behavior,” said Bunning. He did allow the federal sentencing to run concurrently with a 14-year sentence in Pendleton County, a 14-year sentence in Harrison County, and a seven-year sentence in Campbell County.
Cole spoke to the judge, “My record speaks for itself. I have been in trouble with the law my whole life. Dope has destroyed my life since I was young. I am done with it.”
Bracke told the court that Cole was a “drug addict who steals things to get more drugs.” He also pointed out that the state crimes were tied with this crime and that Cole was not an informant or had made any buys but provided very valuable information that corroborated what they already knew.
To break that vicious cycle, he recommended a 144 month sentence. The judge would decide on a 157 months.
With four of five parts in the drug trafficking conspiracy ring knowing the consequences of their role, the noted ringleader, Sydnor, is the only one left to know how long of a sentence he will receive.