John Knotts

ASHLAND Nearly a year to the day Ashland Police said he stuck up the PNC Bank, federal authorities have indicted an Ohio man on narcotics charges in connection with a large-scale drug trafficking ring.

John C. Knotts, 34, was indicted Jan. 8 alongside 31-year-old Amanda Cochran on methamphetamine distribution charges.

The two are the latest additions to a five-member drug conspiracy involving Jesse R. Baise, Paul E. Hart, Keith Chaffins, Joshua Gamble and Steven Lindsey — all busts made by the North East Kentucky Drug Task Force.

Knotts is accused in state court of sticking up the bank on Jan. 9, 2020, with the help of 58-year-old Jackie Miller and Amanda Cochran’s father, 58-year-old Willis C. Cochran.

Knotts and the younger Cochran were apprehended on Jan. 29, 2020, following a rolling shootout that started north of Portsmouth and ended in South Shore, according to police.

Now, federal authorities have wrapped Knotts and the younger Cochran up into a drug conspiracy spanning from the summer of 2019 to the summer of 2020.

The two were indicted on conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute heroin. If convicted, each faces up to 20 years in prison.

Baise, Hart and Gamble could face up to life in prison for some of their charges, while Lindsey could face up to 40 years (in addition to a 20-year conspiracy charge). Chaffins is in the same boat as Cochran and Knotts, facing up to 20 years in prison.

Court records show both Cochran and Knotts are being held at the Scioto County Jail, where they face state charges of attempted murder in connection with the Jan. 29 shootout.

Federal authorities have scheduled an arraignment in Ashland for Feb. 11.

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