Youngstown man sentenced for trying to sell fentanyl pills disguised as painkillers

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Prosecutors say Ross was communicating with the person who arranged delivery of the pills while he was in federal custody

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Youngstown man was given a 12-year prison sentence Wednesday in federal court on drug charges.

U.S. Judge John R. Adams in the U.S. Northern District Court Of Ohio handed down the sentence to Benjamin Ross, 28, who was given a 10-year sentence for trafficking in fentanyl and two years on a parole violation.

The fentanyl trafficking charge stemmed from a May 16 traffic stop in the 4000 block of Southern Boulevard by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

An affidavit filed in support of his arrest said that the BMW Ross was driving was pulled over about 4:20 p.m. May 15 for a traffic violation. The affidavit said Ross appeared to be very nervous but consented to a pat-down search, where nothing was found.

However, a state patrol police dog, “Rexey,” detected the smell of narcotics in the car after doing a sniff of the air around the car. Troopers searched the car and found a box for a toy. Inside the box, they found 4.25 ounces of pills.

The affidavit described them as “hundreds of pills,” with markings that designated them as opiate-based painkillers, the affidavit said.

A news release by the office of U.S. Attorney For The Northern District Of Ohio Justin Herdman said the pills later turned out to be fentanyl.

The traffic stop came after Ross received the shipment of pills in the mail, the release said. The release said Ross was talking to someone on a secure texting app to arrange the delivery of the pills.

Tests showed that the pills contained 117.7 grams of fentanyl.

Ross began communicating with the person just three days before he was released from federal custody after serving a 57-month sentence on a firearms conviction, the release said.

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