Ravenna man sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for weapons, drugs

By Dave O'Brien | staff writer Published:

A federal judge has sentenced a former Ravenna Township man and convicted felon to 20 years in federal prison this week on weapons and drug charges after he was found in possession of three handguns in violation of federal law.

Darnell C. Butcher, 50, formerly of Henderson Road in Ravenna Township, was found guilty of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute during a jury trial in September 2012. His sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko in Cleveland.

"This defendant was a long time scourge to the residents of Ravenna," said Steven Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in announcing the sentence. "This sentence will make it easier for them to live, work and play in peace."

A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms task force investigation involving Ravenna police and the Metro SWAT Team resulted in Butcher's arrest for possessing three firearms -- two .22-caliber handguns and a .32-caliber handgun -- plus ammunition on April 8, 2011. Butcher was forbidden by law from possessing firearms because of six prior felony convictions.

The same investigation found Butcher possessed approximately 12.1 grams of crack cocaine with the intent to sell, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Ravenna police Capt. David Rarrick said Ravenna police worked with the ATF to investigate Butcher and secure a conviction. Federal court documents show police investigated Butcher for dealing drugs out of a house at 502 Ravenna Ave., after an informant tipped off police about Butcher's activities, according to federal court documents.

Butcher has a long criminal history in Portage County. He escaped felony charges of cocaine trafficking and illegal use of food stamps filed in 1997 after his case was dismissed by the Portage County Prosecutor's Office. The legal time limit to try Butcher on the charges expired after the case was never set for trial "due to human error," according to court records.

From 1999 to 2012, Butcher racked up five felony convictions in Portage County Common Pleas Court and one each in Summit and Trumbull counties, serving a total of approximately four years in prison over that time period. According to court records, the charges, conviction dates and sentences were:

Two counts of trafficking in cocaine in September 1999. Judge Joseph Kainrad sentenced him to two years probation, random drug testing and drug treatment and 100 hours of community service, records show. Butcher twice violated that probation, and was sentenced by Kainrad to two years in prison in September 2000.

Trafficking in cocaine in March 2003. Butcher was sentenced to 120 days in the Portage County jail by Judge John Enlow in August 2003, but served only seven days with work privileges because of credit for time served awaiting trial.

Possession of cocaine in January 2004. Judge Laurie Pittman sentenced him to five years probation in June 2004, then ordered Butcher to get treatment at the Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program in Warren in March 2005 following a probation violation. A second violation resulted in Butcher being sentenced to six months in prison in July 2005.

Attempted possession of cocaine in April 2005. Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge John Stuard sentenced Butcher to seven months in prison.

Two counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of possession of cocaine in July 2006. Enlow sentenced Butcher to one year in prison on all three counts, concurrent with each other, in January 2007.

One count each of having weapons under felony disability, receiving stolen property, possession of cocaine and a misdemeanor weapons charge in Summit County Common Pleas Court in January 2010. Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands suspended a three-year prison sentence and placed Butcher on two years probation for firing shots outside a house in Akron in an incident on Oct. 4, 2008, according to court records.

Trafficking in cocaine in January 2012. Enlow sentenced Butcher to two years probation, random drug tests and drug treatment in March 2012.

Follow Dave O'Brien on Twitter at @RCCrimeWatch

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

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  • This guy is a piece of work. He needs to be enshrined in the Ravenna Dope Dealers Hall of Fame. Along with the ,BrumleyMack,Bryant, Jones and Sanders. His son isn't much better. He's another wanna be Crip or Blood. there just hasn't been enough positive black role models in Ravenna community.

  • Don magic won!!! Smh! You gotta be the worst dope dealer in pc, who gets busted that many times in their life? You would probably sell dope to a cop in uniform!! I give credit to the ATF for actually taking one of these thugs off the streets! Much more that I can say for the local drug task force! I'd rather have more of these crack and heroin dealers sent to prison any day than these weak meth bust that they have been targeting! This so called new commander of the task force doesn't believe in doing old school hand to hand drug buys so I've heard! Who the heck doesn't do hand to hand drug buys? From what I've been hearing at the local watering hole is that all they do is drive around in circles following people hoping to see something incriminating! Hmm doesn't seem very undercover! I'd have to bet that most detective bureaus at each department get more dope off the streets than the agents at the task force! Smh! Heck brimfield police department beat the task force in meth lab bust and that's just from the road patrol! So does anyone see anything wrong with this picture? You have a group of agents that are hand picked and sent to the task force to work drugs, but they go days, weeks or months without a drug buy or drug bust! I understand that in narcotic work its a walk not a sprint but Jesus Pete fellas can ya just make an attempt to act like you have a pair? Ask limbert and Kelly for your spines back and get some of these dealers off the street like in the article above!

  • You are right kent citizen, except the part about the prosecutors office. The current drug task force does not pay attention to detail and are very inexperienced as it relates to narcotics investigations. The reports are grossly inadequate and lack a substatntial amount of credibility. This is due to the current commander's ("LYIN" Larry Limbert) inability to focus on the task at hand. If you would happen to speak with any attorney that defends these "drug" cases, he/she would agree. The portage county prosecutors office is just merely trying to save what few drug cases are brought forth to them and are left with pieces of crumbs to to try and effectively prosecute a drug case. Not only does the meth task force lack proper internal leadership, but also is disguised by poor leadership from the sheriff's office. Major "CHAOS" Dale Kelly oversees this operation and has little, if any law-enforcement experience, (part time 1985-1987 roughly, police officer in Macedonia) let alone narcotics investigation experience. The real person to blame would be Sheriff Dave Doak for allowing this to happen in the first place. Just makes "CENTS"!

  • Its nice to see that an actual criminal drug dealer was caught and will be sent away for a very long time. Instead of all these meth lab and pot growers that the cops seem so fixated on. KentCitizen is so right on about the heroin and drug problem being out of control. It looks like it takes an outside group like the ATF to get anything done in the county.

  • Glad to see the ATF stepped in. The Portage County Justice system has been a joke when dealing with Drug Dealers, from the Judges to the Prosecutors. Without the ATF this guy would have continued dealing to everyone including your kids. When he got caught he would get a slap on the wrist and get out of jail if he even went. Wake up Judges! Wake up VIC! Crimes related to Drugs are out of control in Portage County. Drug dealing is out of control. Kids getting addicted to Herion is out of control. Time to make a stand on Drug Dealers in Portage County! This does not mean Probation of NEOCAP.