It wasn’t until he was 35 years old that Jeremy E. Wilson turned to heroin, he said in court Tuesday.

His company “went sour,” he said, and back surgery had left him in pain and on the painkiller Percocet.

“It’s been downhill ever since,” he said Tuesday as he stood in front of Judge Mark Fleegle in Muskingum County Common Pleas Court.

He became involved in drug trafficking, and he was eventually arrested in November after he sold heroin to undercover agents.

But despite previous hopes the heroin use would take his life, he said his three kids are what keep him going. He asked Fleegle to consider placing him on community control sanctions, which his attorney, Adam Grosshandler, had suggested moments earlier.

“I need to get back in their lives,” Wilson said.

Now 37, the Crooksville man was sentenced to prison for the next two years.

The prison sentence comes after a prior joint recommendation between the state and defense that is the result of his guilty plea to a prosecutor’s bill of information containing five trafficking and drug possession counts. By taking such a plea, Wilson waived his right for a grand jury to hear his case.

But after Wilson failed to appear for his original sentencing hearing in January, prosecutors recommended he serve six months more in prison. He was arrested weeks later and returned to the county jail, his recognizance bond revoked.

“Mr. Wilson did not hold up to his end of the agreement by absconding,” said Assistant County Prosecutor John Litle on Tuesday.

But Grosshandler maintained in court that Wilson never meant to evade his sentence; he only meant to avoid danger from those in the drug business aware that his plea deal required that he assist prosecutors.

“He received death threats against himself and his family, and that is the reason he decided to show up at a later time for sentencing,” Grosshandler said in court.

Although Fleegle decided against the state’s recommended 30-month sentence, he reminded Wilson that he didn’t cooperate with authorities as he had agreed. He also expressed concern with the age at which Wilson decided to begin abusing dangerous drugs such as heroin.

“You’re old enough to know better,” Fleegle told Wilson. “You’re not a 15-year-old kid on the streets.”

Wilson was arrested Nov. 3 after authorities say he sold drugs to an undercover agent on three separate occasions. Wilson’s arrest was the result of a monthlong investigation into drug trafficking in Zanesville and Crooksville, officials reported.

Undercover agents with the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force bought heroin from Wilson on Oct. 14, Oct. 20, and Nov. 3, Assistant County Prosecutor John Litle has said in court.

He was then arrested on the same day as Cory R. Christian, who investigators say supplied Wilson with heroin, which he then sold in Muskingum and Perry counties.

Christian, Wilson’s alleged drug supplier, also is under indictment in the case. Christian, 25, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to nine felonies stemming from his arrest.

Published by zanesvilletimesrecorder.com