By Wayne Gates –
A man called Brown County’s number one heroin dealer is going to prison for ten years.
Joe Stein entered a guilty plea on January 26 to two counts of Trafficking in Heroin. Both are second degree felonies.
Brown County Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Gusweiler sentenced Stein to five years on each count to run consecutively for a total of ten years in prison.
Stein was also fined $15,000 by Gusweiler and was made to forfeit three vehicles and another $8460 in cash.
“He was the number one target in the county. We were fortunate enough to make the progress we did on the case. I’m hoping that this sends a message to others that this is what the potential consequences can be of selling heroin and killing our citizens,” said Brown County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force Commander John Burke.
“I was very happy with the way the case went and very happy with the investigation. We are always trying to get to the next level. Stein was at the top of the food chain in the county, but obviously he got it from somewhere.”
Stein said that the task force is already looking to the next big drug bust.
“We are going to continue to ramp up and we have some more targets,” Burke said.
Stein was arrested last August after agents from the BCDMCTF along with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and Mt. Orab PD, stopped Stein in his vehicle on State Route 32 after he had made a trip to Cincinnati to purchase drugs.
The investigation revealed that Stein was traveling to Cincinnati 2-3 times per week and purchasing ½-1 ounce of heroin on each visit.
Burke said that he would like to think that an arrest of the magnitude of Stein will have a positive impact.
“You have to figure he had dozens and dozens of customers, all of which were in jeopardy of overdosing and dying. He was the number one heroin dealer in the county,” Burke said.
“Maybe someone who couldn’t get their fix as a result of this ended up in rehab. That would be a great ending for the kind of work that we do.”
Burke said that a big arrest like this one is a big motivator for his officers.
“It’s a great boost to morale. They do all this work, they do undercover buys, sometimes they risk their lives and then to see something satisfying,” Burke said.
He also had praise for the Brown County Prosecutors Office and Judge Gusweiler.
“It’s great to see that the court system is supporting us and meting out the kind of penalties that you want to see. (Judge Gusweiler) has sent a message with this ten year sentence.”
Burke also extended special thanks to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Mt. Orab PD, and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in this investigation.