A 29-year-old drug dealer from Columbus who brought his operation to Zanesville received a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison Wednesday.

Ron Welch
Muskingum County Prosecutor


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Columbus drug dealer sentenced in Zanesville case

A 29-year-old drug dealer from Columbus who brought his operation to Zanesville received a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison Wednesday. The man’s sentence will be served consecutively to more than four mandatory consecutive years for violating his post-release control.

Marques Parker previously pleaded guilty in April to one first-degree felony count of trafficking a fentanyl related compound and one third-degree felony count of illegal conveyance of drugs.

Police issued a warrant for Parker’s arrest in January after officers from the Zanesville Police Department were called to 817 Shelby St. for what appeared to be two individuals breaking into the house through a window.

Officers surrounded the home and announced their presence at the door. The man who opened the door was detained on the spot.

Several others fled from the basement door into the surrounding neighborhood.

A total of six individuals were apprehended, but Parker escaped.

While searching the house for other suspects, officers found 225 grams of fentanyl sitting in the open, along with tools and materials used to manufacture illegal drugs. It was clear from the scene that the occupant was actively mixing fentanyl with a cutting substance to compound the drug.

Compounding occurs when a drug is combined with another substance or drug, and then repackaged for sale. In the case of the fentanyl on Shelby Street, the fentanyl was being mixed with a fruit powder and then pressed into hard chunks.

During his investigation, Detective Jon Hill with the Zanesville / Muskingum County Drug Unit and CODE Task Force learned that the house was used by Parker, a fentanyl dealer known on the streets as “MP.” Parker left behind his identification, fingerprints, phones and other items as he fled.

The woman who leased the house was charged with permitting drug abuse for allowing Parker to use the space for drug manufacturing and sales.

The six other individuals involved were at the Shelby Street house that day as “testers.” In the world of street drug sales, a “tester” is a drug addict who is invited by a drug dealer to test out the new batch of drugs for free. The tester informs the dealer of the strength of the drugs, and then later informs other addicts that the drug dealer has a good product and that it is available.

Assistant Prosecutor John Litle, who handled the case, argued in court that the fact that Parker was caught in mid-production with his testers on site demonstrated where he fell in the hierarchy of drug dealing in Zanesville.

Judge Kelly Cottrill, when addressing the case, referenced a letter received from one of Parker’s family members which indicated that Parker was selling drugs in order to pay for his children, and that working a real job only generated “chump change,” while selling drugs brought in real money. Judge Cottrill asked Parker how many people his drugs had killed. Missing the judge’s point, Parker responded that if he had killed someone, he’d be on trial for murder.

Just three years ago, Parker appeared in an out of county court where he was sentenced to the minimum of three years for first-degree trafficking in cocaine and fentanyl.

“This is yet another 15-plus year sentence delivered upon a major dealer here in Muskingum County. The message could not be more clear: Do not sell drugs in Muskingum County,” Assistant Prosecutor Litle said.

Follow the Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office on Facebook for the most current and complete information.

Columbus drug dealer sentenced in Zanesville case