Heroin trafficker sentenced, wants a career in law

A Marietta woman accused of selling heroin to undercover informants was sentenced Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to 120 days in jail and a stay at a state correctional facility that focuses on substance abuse rehabilitation.

Abby Roach, 19, of 804 Fourth St., pleaded guilty Oct. 15 to a fourth- and a fifth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs and a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs.

Roach told Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth that before drugs became part of her life she was an average teenager and hopes to return to that.

“Throughout high school I maintained a 3.6 grade point average, ran cross country and track, and had plans to attend college. My experimenting with drugs and alcohol turned me into an addict,” she said.

Roach is accused to selling heroin to an confidential informant on Feb. 11 and again on Feb. 15. She also had heroin in her possession during a Jan. 26 traffic stop.

Roach has been continuously incarcerated since July 16 when she was transported from a Franklin County jail to be held on multiple charges. By the time she was sentenced in September on a receiving stolen property charge, she had already served 51 days of her 60-day sentence. She currently has 50 days credit on the heroin charges, said Burnworth.

Despite the troubles caused by drugs, Roach said her experiences have made her a stronger person and helped her decide on a direction for her life.

“I hope to…study law so I can help other addicts,” she said.

Burnworth told Roach that he has hope for her recovery, but only if she stops associating with her “so called friends.”

“Very nearly all of them have sat in that same seat over the past six months,” he told Roach.

Roach’s co-defendant in the receiving stolen property case, 24-year-old Ali Martin, was sentenced in September on theft and heroin trafficking charges.

Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider said Roach, Martin and multiple others have been charged in connection with a local drug trafficking ring allegedly led by Michael V. Richards, 35, of 1110 Moody Ridge Road, Belpre.

Richards was indicted in July on a second-degree felony count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, three fourth-degree felony counts of trafficking in drugs, three fifth-degree felony counts of trafficking in drugs and two fifth-degree felony counts of possession of drugs. However, he was not located and arrested until Oct. 4.

Schneider said Richards is expected to plead guilty Monday or Tuesday to at least some of the charges, but declined to specify which ones.

Burnworth ordered Roach to serve 120 days in the Washington County Jail with credit for 50 days served. However, she will be allowed to take the first open spot at the Eastern Ohio Correction Center, a state correction facility with programming centered on drug and alcohol counseling. That spot will likely be open Dec. 16, said Burnworth.

Roach will also undergo three years of community control and be ordered to participate in continued counseling after her release, he said.