COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A former Columbus police officer was forced to give up a Cadillac Escalade and a Corvette after pleading guilty Friday to conspiring to distribute fentanyl.
John J. Kotchkoski, 33, of Marengo, Ohio, entered a guilty plea on charges that he conspired with another former officer, Mark R. Merino, to traffic a total of eight kilograms of fentanyl at least three times from June to September in exchange for $32,500, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
As part of the plea agreement, Kotchkoski, who was assigned to investigate drug crimes for the Columbus Division of Police, forfeited cash, firearms, two vehicles — a Cadillac Escalade and a Corvette — and a $500,000 money judgment against him. Court records indicate that the possessions he forfeited account for the proceeds he obtained through drug trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl is punishable by 10 years and up to life in prison, according to the release. Kotchkoski’s sentencing will be determined by a court at a later date.
Kotchkoski and Merino, according to personnel and court files, were disciplined in the past, including for Kotchkoski’s alleged assault of a man who was unconscious during the 2015 Dublin Irish Festival.
After being arrested in September, Kotchkoski and Merino were terminated from the Columbus Division of Police.