Earl Rinehart The Columbus Dispatch @esrinehart
Jodie Turner was one of the smaller players in a drug-trafficking organization that, over two years, transported more than 13,000 pounds of marijuana into Ohio.
Turner, 39, of Akron, was such a minor, street-level dealer in the organization that he might not have been charged, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Martinez said Tuesday in federal court in Columbus.
But a criminal record dating to age 13 — including crimes committed while on probation — ensured his arrest in January 2017 on a charge of trafficking 95 pounds of marijuana. He pleaded guilty March 22, and U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson sentenced him Tuesday to three years and one month in prison. That was the high end of the sentencing range agreed to in a recommendation by Martinez and defense attorney Leo Ross.
Prosecutors said Turner was a small cog among 10 people in the drug-trafficking group led by Damian Edwards that is accused of transporting $11.7 million worth of marijuana from Tucson, Arizona, to Columbus between 2014 and 2016. The drug was then distributed to dealers such as Turner throughout the state.
Edwards, 40, previously of Columbus’ West Side, is now doing 7 1/2 years in a federal prison in North Carolina for heading the organization. At his side were his wife, Hopie, 35, and brother, Tazio, 39, both of Columbus. German Alfredo White, 55, of Florida, drove a semi delivering some of the drugs, prosecutors said.
Tazio Edwards is serving four years and three months in New Hampshire and White is doing almost four years in Florida. Hopie Edwards is awaiting sentencing.
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Damian “Lucky” Edwards, a Jamaican national who has a lengthy criminal history that includes drug trafficking, caught the attention of Columbus Police detectives in 2015. Law enforcement tracked the organization’s members for months. They observed suspected transfers of the drugs, including from a semi that White drove.
Damian Edwards was arrested