Muskingum County Prosecutor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 4, 2023
Drug-dealing fugitive sentenced after three years on the run
A Newark man was sentenced to 11 years in prison today after evading authorities for three years.
Jeffery Body, 42, was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony.
Body was first arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in Columbus in 2019.
The Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office recommended a bond of $1.25 million dollars in an attempt to secure Body’s appearance at trial and due to concerns that Body would flee.
A Franklin County judge decided not to follow the recommendation and reduced the bond to $200,000. Body posted the bond the same day while Muskingum County Deputies were scrambling to get to Columbus before Body posted bail and was released.
Once Body posted bail, he was not seen or heard from again for three years.
Again, law enforcement time and resources had to be expended tracking a dangerous drug dealer in various locations throughout the United States.
Still more frustrating, while Body was busy evading capture, the confidential informant who was involved in Body’s case passed away.
The loss of this witness weakened the case against Body, and the case had to be resolved for a substantial reduction in charges.
“Jeff Body has been a regional target for years, and the case we put together in 2019 was rock-solid,” said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Litle, who handled the case. “Obviously, it is extremely frustrating to have a court decide to release a man who is guaranteed to flee, and the consequences for our case were easy to predict and detrimental to justice.”
Body joins his co-offender, Khalil Pettiford, at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, where he will remain for the next eleven years.
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