CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An Ohio man was sentenced to federal prison today, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Robert Lamar Bates-Porter, 33, of Columbus, Ohio, was sentenced to 154 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl.
“The package received by Bates-Porter contained a kilogram of deadly fentanyl. If not seized by law enforcement, this amount of fentanyl could have killed up to 500,000 people,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Bates-Porter is a repeat offender that had returned to drug trafficking while still on supervised release from a prior conviction. My team worked closely with West Virginia and Ohio law enforcement authorities to ensure this dangerous drug trafficker would no longer wreak havoc in our communities.”
During the late summer of 2019, the Washington County, Ohio Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) was investigating a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that was bringing fentanyl and heroin from Columbus, Ohio to be distributed in and around Marietta, Ohio and Parkersburg, West Virginia. MCTF joined forces with the Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force (PNTF) to investigate the organization. Investigators identified Bates-Porter as a key member of the organization. In September 2019, Bates-Porter ordered a package of drugs to be delivered to a residence on Roselynne Avenue in Parkersburg. The package was delivered on September 12, 2019. Bates-Porter drove from Columbus to Parkersburg and arrived at Roselynne Avenue after midnight on September 13, 2019. Shortly thereafter, PNTF personnel executed a search warrant at the residence where they found Bates-Porter in the basement preparing to open the drug package. Officers seized the package which contained a kilogram of fentanyl. Later the same day, police in Columbus, Ohio executed a search warrant at Bates-Porter’s residence where they seized approximately 260 grams of heroin, 94 grams of cocaine, and a small quantity of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl.
At the time of his arrest, Bates-Porter was on federal supervised release for a 2014 conviction in the Southern District of West Virginia for possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. At the plea hearing, he admitted that he took possession of the package and intended to distribute the drugs inside which he claimed to believe was heroin.
The Washington County Major Crimes Task Force, the Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Columbus, Ohio Police Department conducted the investigation. Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua C. Hanks handled the prosecution.