"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat
A man who prosecutors say ran a drug ring that moved “kilogram quantities” of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in the Cincinnati area has pleaded guilty.
Charles Oden was one of 13 people charged in connection with raids in 2018 on multiple homes in Cincinnati, including one described as a "stash house" in Columbia Tusculum. All but two of the defendants have now pleaded guilty, court records show.
Prosecutors say agents found more than six kilograms of fentanyl – a synthetic opioid that can kill even in small amounts – at the homes. Officials have said the drug ring was connected to a Mexican cartel and was responsible for shipping at least 10 kilos of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine into the Cincinnati area.
Oden, 45, has six previous felony convictions, prosecutors say. He was first convicted of drug trafficking 25 years ago, in 1996. He was on parole for a 2011 drug-trafficking conviction when he was running the drug ring, according to court documents.
Prosecutors described Oden as a full-time drug dealer. After he was arrested and charged in 2018, he told authorities that he had been unemployed since 2017, and before that had done janitorial work “three times a week, for three to four months.” He reported no other prior employment.
According to court documents, in intercepted phone calls, Oden and another man were heard discussing the sale of a kilos of fentanyl. In one call, the price of a kilo of fentanyl was discussed as being $45,000. A kilogram is about 2.2 pounds.
Calls also captured Oden coordinating a resupply of drugs from California, the documents say.
On Sept. 17, 2018, agents arrested Oden at a house on Beaverton Avenue in Roselawn, where he lived with his onetime girlfriend. In the home, investigators found baggies of drugs and evidence of drug distribution – including a digital scale, vacuum-seal bags and 11 cellphones. There was a Kel-Tec pistol in a kitchen cabinet, according to court documents.
Oden pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Cincinnati to a drug conspiracy charge. He faces up to 18 years in prison, prosecutors say in court documents. A sentencing date was not set