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'Operation Fetty Stop' conviction leads to 8-year sentence for Bainbridge man

Caitlin Forsha, The Highland County Press

A Bainbridge man arrested in September as part of a Highland County Task Force drug investigation was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison.

Carl Lockhart, 63, was indicted by a Highland County grand jury Sept. 12 on seven counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in heroin and possession of heroin, all second-degree felonies; trafficking in a fentanyl-related compound in the vicinity of a juvenile, a fourth-degree felony; two counts of possession of a fentanyl-related compound, both fifth-degree felonies; and a forfeiture specification.

Lockhart pleaded guilty Nov. 9 to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in heroin and the forfeiture specification, with the other four counts dismissed.

The indictment alleged that between Nov. 1, 2022 and May 1, 2023, Lockhart and alleged co-conspirators “did recklessly, while being employed by or associated with, directly or indirectly, conduct or participate in the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of corrupt activity and at least one of the incidents of corrupt activity is a felony of the fourth or fifth degree.”

On March 10, it is alleged that Lockhart “did knowingly prepare for shipment, ship, transport, deliver, prepare for distribution or distribute heroin … in an amount equal to or exceeding 10 grams but less than 50 grams” while knowing or having “reasonable cause to believe that the controlled substance was intended for sale or resale by the offender or another person.”

Subject to forfeiture was a 2004 Chevrolet truck for its alleged use in committing the offenses, as well as $75 in US currency.

After accepting Lockhart’s guilty pleas, Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss sentenced Lockhart to four years on the engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity charge, consecutive to a mandatory four years on the heroin trafficking count, for a minimum of eight years in prison. Under the Reagan Tokes Law, Lockhart could serve up to six years on the corrupt activity charge, for a total maximum sentence of 10 years. Lockhart had jail time credit of 59 days.

In addition to the truck and $75 being ordered forfeited, Lockhart was also ordered to pay $140 in restitution to the Highland County Task Force, joint and several with a co-defendant.

The charges in this case were part of “Operation Fetty Stop,” which is the ongoing work of the Highland County Task Force and all county law enforcement agencies to stop the trafficking and use of fentanyl in Highland County. These arrests were focused in Madison Township, the Village of Greenfield and the Rocky Fork Lake area.