Crime

Ohio Lawyer Admits to Taking Money From Arizona-Based Drug Ring

A lawyer in Ohio pleaded guilty yesterday to money laundering charges stemming from money he received from the leader of a drug ring based in Phoenix.

Authorities say 40-year-old Kyle Hunter received more than $100,000 from convicted drug king-pin Leonard Barnhouse. Payment for services rendered, right? Wrong -- Barnhouse paid Hunter in cash and Hunter never reported it to authorities, despite knowing his, um, client was a known drug dealer.

At sentencing, Hunter could get up to five years in prison, three years probation, and a hefty $25,000 fine, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Phoenix is often considered a hub for drugs entering the country from Mexico and when it came to weed heading to the mid-West, the trafficking ring Hunter is linked to was no joke.

Authorities say that starting in 2001, the Pataskala drug-trafficking ring netted more than $10 million profit by moving weed from Phoenix to Ohio, where it was distributed to other mid-Western states.

At least 16 members of the trafficking ring were busted by the feds, including another lawyer, 41-year-old Charles W. McGowan, who is expected to plead guilty to similar charges next Wednesday.   

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
James King
Contact: James King