Painesville man sentenced in one of Lake County's biggest drug busts 'in quite some time'

The Painesville man arrested in what is considered the Lake County Narcotics Agency's biggest drug bust “in quite some time” was sentenced Oct. 29 to 12 years in prison.

Otis Miller, 42, was sentenced by Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge Vincent A. Culotta for first-degree felony cocaine trafficking and second-degree felony aggravated trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine).

The charges stemmed from a Nov. 15, 2017 drug bust at 375 Liberty Street in Painesville. The Lake County Narcotics Agency, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Painesville and Mentor police departments executed a search warrant at the address after complaints of drug activity.

According to the Narcotics Agency, officers located and seized large quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription pills.The officers also seized a vehicle, cash, drug paraphernalia and two firearms. The drugs had a street value of more than $30,000.

Miller’s attorney, Assistant Lake County Public Defender Melissa Blake said that things began to unravel for him about four or five years ago.

“His family life came apart a bit, and he found himself moving out here to Painesville, found himself hanging out with, honestly, dangerous people,” Blake said. “And he found himself engaging in a lot of drug activity.”

Blake said Miller became attracted to that lifestyle: the drugs, the money, the guns and the popularity that came along with it.

“He certainly never expected to find himself in this position, I can tell you that,” she said.

One week after being involved in a four-hour long standoff with Painesville police and Lake County SWAT team members where he refused to surrender on a warrant for a bond violation, Miller said he takes full responsibility for his actions.

“I just want to apologize to everyone,” Miller said.

Miller has no previous felony convictions, but his criminal history dates back 24 years, to the day after his 18th birthday,

“It might not be felonious conduct, but it is criminal conduct,” Culotta said prior to handing down Miller’s sentence.

Miller was arraigned on a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge Oct. 22 in Painesville Municipal Court related to the Oct. 21 standoff situation. SWAT members ultimately decided to enter his home after several hours of trying to communicate with him. Before entering they deployed tear gas in an effort to see if he would come out. That was also unsuccessful and SWAT members entered and found Miller hiding in a cubby hole in the stairwell behind a false wall.

The next hearing date in that case is Nov. 13.

Published by the News-Herald

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