COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Eastern Ohio man was sentenced in U.S. District Court here today to 168 months in prison for discharging a firearm during a drug-trafficking robbery and for cyberstalking a victim for a year.
Michael Bertolino, Jr., 35, of Adena, Ohio, was sentenced for committing three federal crimes.
According to court documents, in December 2020, Bertolino conspired with others to plan and execute the armed robbery of a drug dealer in Cadiz, Ohio.
At a meet-up arranged through SnapChat, Bertolino and others robbed the individual of a half-pound of marijuana and 50 THC cartridges. During the robbery, as the victim was on the ground, Bertolino discharged a gun into the ground near the victim’s head.
In a separate criminal scheme, throughout all of 2020, Bertolino used social media platforms, text messages and a GPS system to cyberstalk a second victim.
The defendant created social media accounts to post derogatory statements or comments on the accounts of the victim and the victim’s friends and family members. For example, Bertolino created a Facebook account and used explicit photos of the victim for the account profile.
Bertolino also placed a GPS tracker on the victim’s vehicle and monitored the victim’s movement on his computer. He sent the victim Google Earth screenshots showing that he was tracking the victim at all times.
As part of his cyberstalking, Bertolino used a text messaging application to send the victim thousands of messages from what appeared to be 19 different phone numbers. In the messages, he threatened to kill the victim and those involved with the victim and promised to post compromising pictures of the victim online.
Bertolino pleaded guilty in July 2021 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and cyberstalking.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; and Harrison County Sheriff Ronald J. Myers announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. Assistant United States Attorney S. Courter Shimeall is representing the United States in this case.
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