69-year-old admits to drug dealing

A Marietta man who acted as the supplier during a handful of local heroin deals pleaded guilty Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to selling and possessing the drug.

Robert J. Becker Jr., 69, of 213 Meigs St., pleaded guilty to four heroin-related charges occurring between October 2012 and October 2013.

During three undercover drug buys, each with a different dealer and confidential informant, investigators observed the suspected dealers go get drugs from Becker during the middle of the deal, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

In the most recent case, on Oct. 10, a confidential informant set up a heroin buy with Becker’s neighbor, Gary McFadden, said Schneider.

“Becker lives close…Mr. McFadden was observed walking to Mr. Becker’s residence,” he said.

Investigators issued search warrants for both men’s houses immediately following the drug deal and Becker was found with all of the marked buy money the informant had paid McFadden, said Schneider.

McFadden has pleaded guilty to two fourth-degree felony counts of trafficking and is awaiting sentencing.

Tara Burdette, the seller during a Feb. 25, 2013 heroin sale, also drove to Becker’s house and made an exchange after taking money from the informant, said Schneider.

The trafficking charge against Burdette was dropped in that case in exchange for her plea to a different fourth-degree felony heroin trafficking charge. She is currently in prison.

In the Oct. 29, 2012 case, Molly Rudolph took an informant’s money, and met Becker in Harmar where the two were observed making an exchange, he said.

Rudolph has pleaded guilty to three fourth-degree felony drug trafficking charges, all of which happened in the presence of her child, said Schneider. She is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

Out of the incidents, Becker pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony count of drug trafficking and two fifth-degree felony counts of drug trafficking, one of which had been reduced from a fourth-degree felony. He additionally pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony count of drug possession for heroin residue that was found on a knife in his home during a February 2013 search warrant at his home.

The reduction of one fourth-degree felony trafficking charge was the result of a plea agreement, said Schneider. The prosecution also agreed to drop five other charges and not prosecute Becker on any new charges related to the incidents they already knew about, he said.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane warned Becker that he had the option to run the sentences consecutively.

“The most you can receive on these charges is four and a half years in prison,” said Lane.

However, Lane also has the option to forgo prison entirely and sentence Becker to community control.

Schneider said part of the plea also included an agreement that the state would remain silent on the issue of sentencing. They still have the option of requesting restitution for the drug buys, he added.