WASHINGTON C.H. — Vercie “Bubby” Lark was found guilty by a jury of being in possession of drugs while he was incarcerated inside the Fayette County Jail.
Lark was convicted on three counts of drug possession during a recent trial in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas Feb. 15.
In total, Lark will serve four years and three months in prison on the charges: on a charge of aggravated possession of drugs, methamphetamine, a third-degree felony, he received a sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison; for aggravated possession of drugs, fentanyl, a fifth-degree felony, he received a one year prison sentence; and for possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony, he was ordered to serve nine months in prison.
The jury trial lasted just one day, but the jury deliberation took about three hours and the verdict came back at 7:30 p.m., according to Fayette County Assistant Prosecutor John Scott.
The jury did not find enough evidence to convict Lark on a charge of illegal conveyance into the Fayette County Jail, a third-degree felony, after Scott said that one of the key witnesses didn’t show up to testify at trial. Scott said there was not evidence to show that Lark was the person who brought the drugs into the Fayette County Jail, but said that the jury did have enough evidence to show that Lark was found to be in possession of the drugs during a search of his cell and bunk area. In addition, two charges for trafficking in drugs were dismissed by the state on a Rule 29 motion after the state did not produce enough evidence to allow the judge to give it to the jury to decide, said Scott.
Reports state that Lark was booked into the Fayette County Jail Aug. 18, 2016 on a bench warrant.
The warrant was for an appearance on the separate felony case that he is now incarcerated for in Chillicothe on charges of tampering with evidence and possession of drugs. In that case, Lark reportedly placing a narcotic in his rectum during a traffic stop, removed it and partially ate it, according to statements by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which reported that the incident was caught on camera as Lark sat in the back of the patrol car.
After Lark was booked into the Fayette County Jail for the warrant Aug. 18, 2016, a jail inmate being transported to another county allegedly told the Fayette County Jail staff to “watch his buddies” in the 12-man cell because there was a quarter-ounce of meth, crack and heroin in the cell.
Officers reportedly planned a search of the 12-man cell and during the execution of the search Aug. 27 with K-9 “Dexi,” they allegedly found a bag containing more than a quarter-ounce of narcotics near Lark’s bunk.
Reports said that inside the one bag were three separate bags: one bag contained 5.44 grams of a crystalline substance that tested positive for methamphetamine (an illegal stimulant), one bag contained 3.45 grams of a hard brown rock substance that tested positive for fentanyl, and one bag contained .33 grams of an off-white substance that tested positive for cocaine, reports said.
The investigation led to multiple interviews with other inmates in the jail at the time. Reports in the case file from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office show that several jail inmates allegedly said Lark had smuggled a substantial amount of narcotics into the jail and that he was giving the narcotics to other inmates.
One of the inmates interviewed said he witnessed other inmates “fall-out” in the shower and on the floor due to ingesting the drugs (fall-out is another term used to describe an opioid overdose).
At the time of the reported incident, there was no body scanner at the jail, but the Fayette County Jail installed a body scanner in 2017 to check inmates’ body cavities for narcotics prior to placing them with the general population in the jail in an attempt to prevent illegal conveyance into the facility.
Contact Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton and sending a message.