Man sentenced on drug charge out of traffic stop

A Parkersburg man, arrested on drug possession charges a year ago, was sentenced to 60 days in the county jail and three years of community control Thursday by Washington County Common Pleas Judge Randall Burnworth.

Gary P. Barker, 24, of 817 Lenore St. had nothing to say to the court prior to his sentencing on a third-degree felony charge of drug possession.

He was originally indicted on one third-degree and one fifth-degree felony drug possession charge, but defense attorney Rolf Baumgartel said the charges had been reduced to a single count.

“This was his first offense, he had no prior record,” Baumgartel said. “He agreed to plead to the one third-degree felony charge of drug possession.”

Burnworth said the 60-day jail sentence would be reduced to 55 days due to time Barker had already served. Barker was also required to receive counseling and treatment from L&P Services of Marietta.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb said Barker was driving along Interstate 77 in November 2012 when he was pulled over for a traffic violation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“He was found in possession of oxycodone that exceeded the bulk amount permitted, and he did not have a prescription for the drug,” Erb said.

He explained that the bulk amount of oxycodone allowed per prescription is regulated at pharmacies, and depends on the strength of the drug. The 30-milligram tablets in Barker’s possession would have been limited to no more than 15, but he had 45 tablets in the vehicle.

“After being pulled over he tried to hide the pills by stuffing them inside his pants,” Erb said, adding that Barker also had one oxymorphone tablet in his possession, which resulted in the additional felony count when he was initially charged.

Erb said Barker admitted he had gone out of the area to purchase the drugs and told investigators he had become addicted.

“There was no evidence of trafficking,” Erb added.

He said the fifth-degree felony charge was dropped in exchange for Barker’s agreement to plead guilty to the third-degree felony possession charge.

Burnworth also ordered Barker’s drivers license to be suspended for 180 days