A Zanesville man confessed to charges of trafficking drugs.

Ron Welch
Muskingum County Prosecutor


Friday, June 28, 2024

Zanesville Man Admits to Cocaine, Fentanyl Trafficking

A Zanesville man confessed to charges of trafficking drugs.

Eric J. Hayes, age 34, of Zanesville, appeared before Muskingum County Common Pleas Court judge Kelly Cottrill on June 25, to enter a plea in his case.

Hayes pleaded guilty to charges of illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse, trafficking in cocaine, and trafficking in a fentanyl-related compound. During his plea, Hayes acknowledged he was on post-release control for a 2017 drug case.

On February 6, Zanesville Police Department Patrolman Travis Stilwell pulled Hayes over for a traffic violation, after seeing him at a “trap house,” or a house out of which a drug dealer sells drugs.

During the stop, officers observed Hayes and the vehicle’s passenger conceal objects on their persons while reaching in and out of the car’s center console.

While speaking with Hayes outside his car, officers saw the handle of a firearm in the passenger’s pants.

With the consent of Hayes, officers searched him and his vehicle. About $1,000 in currency was found on Hayes, and marijuana and scales were found in his vehicle. The officer smelled burned marijuana in the vehicle, and, because it is illegal to consume marijuana in a vehicle under any circumstances, the investigation proceeded further.

The passenger was arrested for improper handling of a firearm and taken to jail. At the jail, she handed over three bags of suspected drugs that she had hidden for Hayes: two bags containing a blue rock-like substance, and a bag with two smaller baggies inside, each containing a white substance.

Hayes was also arrested and taken to jail. He denied having any drugs on his person, but seven strips of suboxone, a drug of abuse marketed by pharmaceutical companies as an alternative to opiates, were found in his wallet.

The substances carried by the passenger in his car were tested, the blue substance was greater than 30 grams of fentanyl and the white substance was determined to be cocaine.

Hayes has a recommended sentence of ten years and will be sentenced at a later date.

Muskingum County Assistant Prosecutor John Litle says drug trafficking will not be tolerated in the community.

“Like most drug cases, this case was open-and-shut, meaning that we could pursue a lengthy, incapacitating sentence for this repeat drug dealer,” Litle said. “A case like this might get a one-year sentence, or even probation, in other communities.”

Muskingum County Prosecuting Attorney Ron Welch says imprisoning drug dealers protects our community’s families.

“Drug dealers profit from selling poison to anyone they can,” Prosecutor Welch said. “They are selfish parasites that care for no one but themselves. Putting them in prison is the best way to protect our families and community.”

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Zanesville Man Admits to Cocaine, Fentanyl Trafficking