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YOUNGSTOWN Ex-bar owners get prison, probation for drug activity at South Avenue site



Published: Sat, March 8, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



A third family member is to be sentenced next month.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Authorities say sentences imposed against two former owners of McDonough's Lounge should be a message to other bar owners.

"If that's the business you're in, then you'd better run a clean shop," said Officer Robert Patton of the Mahoning Valley Drug Task Force. "You can't condone people selling [drugs] in your business."

Mary Catherine McDonough, 48, of Palmer Avenue was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday by Judge Robert Lisotto of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

She pleaded guilty in August 2002 to five counts of cocaine trafficking and single counts of preparing drugs for sale, illegally manufacturing drugs, cocaine possession and illegal possession of a weapon.

Her father, 69-year-old Thomas McDonough of Humbolt Avenue, also pleaded guilty in August to several drug-related charges. Judge Lisotto placed him on probation for two years.

A third family member, Catherine McDonough, 68, also of Humbolt Avenue, was to have been sentenced Wednesday as well, but she was given a 30-day continuance because she had just been released from the hospital.

Prosecutors have recommended that she serve six months in the county jail, then be placed on probation.

Cocaine trafficking

Authorities say the family was responsible for a substantial amount of cocaine trafficking from their former South Avenue bar.

Terry Grenga, assistant prosecutor, said the women bought and packaged the drugs, which were then sold at the bar by Reynold DePaul. Thomas McDonough knew about the activity, though he's not believed to have actually participated in the sale of the drugs, Grenga said.

"Mr. McDonough never sold drugs," said his lawyer, Anthony Meranto.

DePaul, 59, of Wilcox Road, Austintown, was indicted on drug charges in 1999. He pleaded guilty in July 2002, though court records indicate that terms of his plea agreement were ordered sealed by Judge Maureen A. Cronin.

DePaul's sentencing, also set for Wednesday, was postponed.

Patton said the bar had a reputation for years as a place on the South Side where drugs were readily available.

Admits drug use

Mary Catherine McDonough admitted to the judge that she had bought drugs for DePaul to sell. She also said that several packets of cocaine police found in her clothing when she was arrested were for her own use.

"I'd heard that the task force was going to be out making arrests during the holidays, so I wanted to get it before then," she said.

Her attorney, Michael Rich, asked that she be allowed to report to jail Friday, but Judge Lisotto refused. "It's time to go," he told her.

Besides the prison and probation sentences, the McDonoughs also forfeited the bar, $13,000 in cash and three vehicles.

bjackson@vindy.com




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