Big Oak: Trial ends with a guilty plea

LISBON — A day after a jury trial started for Operation Big Oak defendant Allen Jackson in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court last week, Jackson decided to plead guilty to several of the charges against him and ended the trial.

According to court documents, following opening statements on the previous afternoon, the first witness, Detective Ryan Pike testified in the case last Wednesday morning. It was the start of what was to be a 40-witness jury trial before Judge Megan Bickerton with more than a week of testimony expected.

But during a recess last Wednesday a plea agreement was reached.

Jackson, 27, of Cleveland, who was facing 18 counts, pleaded guilty to 16 charges, including the first-degree felony engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and participating in a criminal gang. Additionally he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs and four counts of trafficking in cocaine.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 1. If all the charges were to run consecutively, Jackson, who is also known as Keith, could face more than 80 years in prison. However, a considerably shorter sentence is expected to be requested as part of the felony plea agreement.

The charges involved the sale of fentanyl, oxycodone and cocaine, including occasions during March and April of 2017 when Jackson was accused of selling large amounts of cocaine, which made those two charges first-degree felonies.

Jackson, two of his brothers and uncle are allegedly responsible for the gang activities which reportedly included bringing 1.4 million doses of drugs into Columbiana County from the Cleveland area.