Ironton man gets eight years for drug offenses

Published 10:08 am Thursday, January 12, 2012

‘He was one of our biggest ones,’ prosecutor says

An Ironton man arrested in a September drug roundup will spend the next eight years behind bars.

Franklin Norris, 50, of 1113 S. Fourth St., pleaded guilty to the seven-count aggravated trafficking in drugs indictment in November but at that time a pre-sentence investigation was ordered.

Wednesday, Norris was back in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court to learn his fate.

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Judge D. Scott Bowling also ordered Norris to pay $37,500 in fines, surrender his driver’s license for two years and forfeit $2,068 in cash found on Norris at the time of his arrest.

“I’m sorry I let myself down, let my family down, let the community down,” Norris said.

His attorney, Warren Morford, described Norris as a man who had worked all of his life, but when he went through a divorce he “fell prey to the call of the drug trade.” Morford said Norris is not a bad man and that people who knew him had written both the judge and the prosecutor’s office on his behalf.

“He is remorseful,” Morford said. “He’s sorry for what he’s done.”

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier, Jr., said after the sentencing that the Lawrence County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force had compiled a “solid case” against Norris prior to his arrest and that his drug trafficking was well known to law enforcement.

“He was one of the biggest ones around,” Collier said.

Norris was one of the more than 20 people arrested on secret drug indictments in September. Authorities said at that time most of the people arrested were involved in the sale of prescription drugs, such as oxycontin, purchased in Florida and brought back to the tri-state for distribution.