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Tuscarawas County Sheriff: ‘Major’ drug dealer now behind bars

| January 31, 2023
William Gibbs (Photo from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (January 31, 2023) – Tuscarawas County’s sheriff says a dangerous drug dealer is off the streets and in prison for at least the next 14 years.

Sheriff Orvis Cambell says 33-year-old William Gibbs was a major drug trafficker in multiple counties. Local law enforcement first arrested him in May 2021 at a residence on 5th Street Northwest in New Philadelphia.

“This guy was a major player, moving drugs around from Stark County and Summit County and here,” Campbell said. “This level of dealer was significant for Tuscarawas County, and it was a great case. Detective [Cole] Morris worked very diligently for a very long time on this case, interviewing people, conducting warrants, and things like that.”

Several other arrests followed, including one in Uhrichsville and another in Stark County after an incident where police allege Gibbs shot someone.

“He was determined to be what is called a major drug offender – an MDO under Ohio law… This is a law specifically to separate the guys who are doing large amounts for big money from the small-time person who may just be selling to friends and supporting their own habit,” Campbell said.

Gibbs has been assigned to the Lake Erie Correctional Institution since December 1st following his conviction and sentencing for crimes in Stark and Summit counties.

On Jan. 18, Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos sentenced Gibbs to 11 to 16 and a half years in prison after he pleaded no contest to several charges, including aggravated trafficking in drugs.

Campbell credited the LEAD Drug Task Force and Detective Cole Morris for pursuing the case.

“To start a case like that from nothing and build it to the significance that he built is not an easy task,” Campbell said. “We did not have any informants coming to us giving us information or walking in to just buy drugs from him. This was done with hard work and surveillance and some of the older-fashioned intelligence gathering techniques that law enforcement use.”

Sixteen and a half years would be the longest of the sentences Gibbs will serve concurrently with sentences from Stark and Summit counties, along with the sentence from a second Tuscarawas County case. Judge Michael Ernest Jan. 23 sentenced Gibbs to 14 years in prison on nine drug and weapons charges stemming from a traffic stop in July 2021.

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