Local man sentenced for drug trafficking

Portsmouth-A Scioto County jury deliberated less than an hour before finding a Scioto County man guilty on four counts of trafficking and possession of heroin and fentanyl.

Common Pleas Court Judge Mark E. Kuhn sentenced Johnny P. Wilds, of Portsmouth, to 11 years for trafficking in fentanyl and 9 years for trafficking in heroin. Both sentences are mandatory and run consecutively for a minimum term of 20 years. Judge Kuhn then added 5 ½ years for a total maximum sentence 20 to 25 ½ years.

On May 22 troopers of the Ohio State Highway Patrol received an anonymous tip that Wilds and co-defendant Jennifer King, also of Scioto County, would be traveling south from Dayton carrying a load of drugs. Coordinating with the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force and the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, surveillance was set up on SR 73 and 104 in Scioto County.

Wilds and his co-defendant, Jennifer King of Scioto County, drove past the surveillance point and were stopped for traffic violations on Dry Run Road.

According to the court testimony by officers involved, Wilds had a small Chihuahua in the vehicle with him. Officers contend that dogs are often used in the drug trade under the false assumption that a K-9 dog will be distracted by another dog close by.

A search of the vehicle revealed 86 grams of heroin and fentanyl in a fake peanut butter jar on the floor behind the driver’s seat. Seizure of the Wilds’ cell phones revealed text messages of heroin sales in the Portsmouth and Dayton areas as far back as June 2017.

The Scioto County Grand Jury returned indictments against the pair on July 2.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the sentence against Wilds is a mandatory term. He will be eligible for release in 20 years. Wilds has an extensive felony record in Scioto and Clermont Counties dating back two decades.

King is still at large and will be tried when she is captured.