Major drug offender gets 12 years in prison
A major drug offender who went to prison for a 1996 mob assassination has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for cocaine and heroin possession and trafficking and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court imposed the prison time Monday on George Wilkins III, 41, of McClure Street, Struthers, who pleaded guilty in October. Wilkins will be on parole for five years after prison.
When Struthers police pulled over Wilkins on State Street in August 2013, they found 6.6 pounds of pure cocaine and 3.3 pounds of pure heroin inside his car, with a combined value of about $240,000.
Wilkins initially refused to leave his car when stopped, and exited only after police broke a window, said Struthers Police Chief Tim Roddy.
After being “cut” (diluted to make as many doses as possible), the drugs could have brought more than $1 million on the street, said Youngstown police Officer Bob Patton of the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force, which asked Struthers police to stop Wilkins.
“My actions were no one else’s fault,” Wilkins told the judge before she imposed sentence.
“I’m completely contrite about it. I’m completely remorseful,” Wilkins said, adding that he was making no excuses for his conduct.
“I know firsthand, more so than anybody, what drugs can do to families and communities,” he said, citing the struggles with drug abuse members of his family have experienced and the violence and blight drug trafficking imposes on neighborhoods.
Martin P. Desmond, an assistant county prosecutor, called for a 14-year prison term.
“This is the appropriate sentence, given the number of charges, given the amount of drugs at issue here, and given the fact that Mr. Wilkins has a lengthy criminal history,” Desmond told the judge.
Because of Wilkins’ cooperation, police arrested Terrence Wilkerson, 38, of Yonkers, N.Y, a major drug supplier, who pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to possess cocaine and heroin and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and was sentenced by Judge Sweeney last month to four years in prison.
In November 1999, Wilkins was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison in the June 3, 1996, shooting death of Ernie Biondillo, 53, of Campbell, as he was driving to work on the East Side.
Wilkins and two other men carried out a plot by former mob boss Lenny Strollo, who wanted Biondillo killed because they were organized-crime rivals.
Wilkins’ co-defendants, Cleveland Blair and Jeffrey Riddle, were sentenced to 15-year and life prison terms, respectively, for their roles in the slaying.
Strollo was sentenced to almost 13 years in prison in 2004 after he agreed to cooperate with federal investigations of corruption in the Mahoning Valley.