CANTON: A man was sentenced Tuesday to 26 years in prison for selling fentanyl and heroin “like they were pepperoni pizzas” in one of Stark County’s larger drug cases.
Bobby O. Goodwin, 38, of Canton and formerly of Columbus, pleaded guilty to 42 felony counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated drug trafficking and aggravated drug possession.
Most of the charges were related to the sale of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine, said Stark County Assistant Prosecutor Megan Starrett, who oversaw the case with fellow Assistant Prosecutor Toni Schnellinger.
“He was a higher-level dealer we were trying to get off the streets,” she said after the hearing. “He was definitely a significant dealer moving a lot of drugs.”
Common Pleas Judge Frank Forchione said it was one of the largest sentences he has given in a drug case, vowing the defendant won’t be released early as long as he’s in office.
Goodwin can first apply for early release after serving 16 years, Forchione noted. Prosecutors also opposed early release.
Some charges were merged for sentencing purposes because they are considered part of the same criminal conduct under the law. The defendant was represented by attorney Kirk Migdal.
Forchione, citing Goodwin’s prior criminal record as well as those who were harmed by the drugs he trafficked, said the case “sickened” him.
The judge said the defendant dealt drugs “like they were pepperoni pizzas.”
“I don’t know if you understand what fentanyl is doing to this county and to this state,” Forchione said. ”... You are one of the biggest drug dealers I have ever had in front of me. As a result, you’re going to get one of the biggest sentences that I’ve given. This more than likely will be a life sentence for you. That may seem harsh but I’m going to make sure I protect the streets of this county.”
Heading the investigation were the Canton Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Drugs were tied to three Canton houses associated with Goodwin, Starrett said, noting the investigation spanned February to July 2018.
Drug activity occurred in the St. Elmo Avenue NE, Bentley Place NE and Eighth Street NW areas, according to court records filed in the case by the prosecutor’s office.
Overall, the case involved the possession, sale or distribution of roughly 690 grams of fentanyl and heroin combined, according to figures provided by the prosecutor’s office. Some of the transactions investigated involved single sales of a half gram of fentanyl or heroin, Starrett said.
Goodwin headed what investigators considered to be a drug trafficking organization, Starrett said. Drugs were either trafficked by Goodwin or two co-defendants, she said.
Shauntae M. Ewing, 29, and Natasha M. Bell, 35, both of Canton, have pleaded guilty to drug-related charges in the case. Neither has been sentenced yet.
Goodwin is clearly the most culpable of the trio, Starrett said.
“I think this was a business (Goodwin) was running,” the assistant prosecutor said. “This was his drug trafficking organization and enterprise or however you want to characterize that. He had a significant amount of drugs.”