#039;Upper-level drug dealers#039; plead guilty

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Two Columbus area men and a South Point man arrested this summer on drug charges have avoided trial this month by pleading guilty to charges against them.

Antwan Winbush, 22, of Columbus, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of trafficking in cocaine. Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton sentenced Winbush to three years in prison.

Keleci Hill, 26, of Columbus, pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of having a weapon under a disability, trafficking in crack cocaine with a firearms specification and in the vicinity of a school, one count of trafficking in marijuana, and one count of possession of criminal tools. McCown set a Dec. 17 sentencing date for Hill.

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Cameron Simmons, 26, of South Point, pleaded guilty last Monday to two counts of fourth-degree felony trafficking in cocaine, one third-degree felony count of trafficking in cocaine, two counts of having a weapon under a disability, possession of cocaine and one count of attempting to traffic in cocaine. Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set a November 12 sentencing date.

Hill and Winbush were arrested in August in Ironton. Simmons was arrested a few days later at a motel in South Point. Winbush and Hill are described by local authorities as "upper level drug dealers."

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said he is satisfied with the guilty pleas and with the three year prison sentence for Winbush. Collier said he expected Hill and Simmons to get prison sentences as well.

"I feel very good about this," Collier said. "These three men brought more crack into our community than anyone else so far. I am extremely proud of our law enforcement officers and proud of the job the drug task force has done in trying to get drugs off the streets in Lawrence County. The drug task force has a 100-percent conviction rate,

and the judges have been very firm in dealing with drug dealers as well."