Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 19, 2013

Decorated veteran gets 37 months in pain pill trafficking case

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — A decorated Iraq War veteran from Fleming County was sentenced last week to 37 months in a federal prison for illegally trafficking in pain pills in Boyd County and elsewhere,

Robert W. Taylor, 31, of Wallingford, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and possession of the drug with intent to distribute. Two additional counts were dismissed under the terms of Taylor’s plea agreement.

Bunning also sentenced Taylor to three years of supervised release following his term of incarceration and ordered him to participate in the Bureau of Prisons’ 500-hour drug treatment program while he is in prison. The judge also recommended Taylor serve his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Lexington.

Taylor and his brother, Jarrod D. Taylor, 29, were indicted in July by a federal grand jury. According to court records, the brothers, along with others, agreed to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone in Boyd County and elsewhere between Sept. 28 and Dec. 1, 2011.

On two separate occasions during that period, Robert Taylor sold pills provided to him by his brother to a confidential informant working for law enforcement, records state.

Robert Taylor acknowledged the total number of illegally trafficked pills attributable to his was approximately 200, his plea agreement states.

In a sentencing memorandum filed on his behalf, Taylor’s attorney, Michael Fox of Olive Hill, said his client’s addiction to OxyContin — which led to him selling drugs to finance his own habit — stemmed from childhood emotional, sexual and physical abuse.  

“Robert reports that his drug usage was an attempt to cope with ‘forget about bad memories from childhood,’” Fox wrote.

According to Fox, Taylor joined the Army in 2001 and was honorably discharged in 2007. He achieved the rank of E-4, was primarily involved in bridging and demolition and received various awards for his work as a combat engineer, including an Overseas Ribbon for his “distinguished efforts” during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fox wrote.

Following his discharge, Taylor’s drug use “continued and increased (due to him) having had military experiences which only exacerbated his undiagnosed emotional problems and mental illness,” Fox wrote.

Taylor was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, combat stress and depression in 2001 and had been undergoing treatment for those conditions prior to his arrest, Fox wrote.

Jarrod Taylor also pleaded guilty and was also scheduled to be sentenced last week, but his sentencing was pushed back to March 11.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.