Canton man indicted for drug trafficking in Martins Ferry

Lawrence J. Collins, Jr.

MARTINS FERRY — A man Martins Ferry police describe as a “big fish” in the local drug trafficking scene has been indicted in Belmont County.

Lawrence J. Collins Jr., 29, of Canton, Ohio, was indicted Thursday for first-, second- and third-degree felony drug trafficking, in addition to felony possession of controlled substances. He allegedly was dealing drugs from 118 N. Ninth St., Martins Ferry, city police Officer Tim Starkey said. According to Starkey, officers with the Belmont County Drug Task Force conducted controlled drug buys from Collins at the Ninth Street address.

The Ninth Street home does not belong to Collins. Starkey said COllins was just staying at the residence, and he noted that no other occupants of the home were charged in connection with the case.

“He’s from Canton. He would get his supply from the Canton area and come here and sell the stuff,” Starkey said.

Starkey noted the task force typically does not get make large purchases of illegal drugs from people in the local area. Collins allegedly sold undercover officers crack, heroine and Percocet. When they arrested him Dec. 15 while executing a search warrant at the Ninth Street home, Collins allegedly possessed marijuana, cocaine and Xanax. Officers also seized $3,000 in cash.

“He’s a big fish,” Starkey said, referring to the amount of drugs Collins allegedly sold to undercover officers.

Starkey noted Collins is now lodged in the Belmont County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond, pending a future arraignment.

The total amounts of drugs allegedly sold to the officers included: crack, 4.5 ounces; heroin, 1 ounce; and Percocet, 100 pills. On Dec. 15, during a text message exchange, Collins also allegedly said he could sell 13 ounces of crack.