Massillon man gets prison for weapon, drugs

A Massillon man who was arrested last year as part of a large-scale drug sweep was sentenced to prison.

Gregory Phillips, 39, last known address of 1427 Forest St. SE, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of having a weapon while under disability (a third-degree felony) and two charges of trafficking in heroin (fifth-degree felonies) in Wayne County Common Pleas Court.

Phillips originally was scheduled to be sentenced in September, but he failed to show for his hearing. He was arrested in June by the United States Marshals Service at an apartment complex in Canton.

"I was doing everything not to get high," Phillips told Judge Mark K. Wiest at Tuesday's court appearance. "I wasn't high over a year... I was trying to get custody over my 4-year-old son."

His attorney, Eugene O'Byrne, admitted to the court Phillips has "a drug addiction" and "he's trying to fight it. He didn't come to court (in September) because quite honestly he was using."

O'Byrne pleaded for some sort of treatment program for Phillips instead of incarceration.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jodie Schumacher argued Phillips' prior history and failure to complete treatment programs in past cases, along with selling drugs in the community with firearms in the mix, pushed for incarceration.

Wiest agreed, stating Phillips' history -- which goes back to 1994 and includes two drug cases in Wayne County -- plus chances to complete treatment led to him receiving prison time.

The charges stem from drug buys made by the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency in November and December 2013 from Phillips and his codefendant, Robert Lantzer, 31, who was sentenced to three years in prison.


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