MAHONING COUNTY Parolee is jailed on drug charges
The city police chief was involved in the arrest of man who served 27 years in prison.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A Youngstown man who was paroled after serving 27 years for rape and robbery is back in jail, this time facing drug charges.
Benjamin Pankey, 60, of Springdale Avenue, was arrested Wednesday afternoon. A preliminary hearing has been set for next Wednesday. He is in the Mahoning County jail under a $50,000 cash or surety bond.
According to city police reports, Police Chief Robert Bush was driving on Market Street around 1:15 p.m. Wednesday when he spotted a man in a silver Grand Am stop to pick up two men.
The men got in the car, and Bush said he saw the driver hand them something, which they handed to a woman outside the car. The two men then got out of the car, reports said.
Bush called in a description of the car, and officers spotted the car and pulled it over at Phelps and Front streets.
Officers asked Pankey, who was driving the car, if he was carrying drugs, and he said he had some crack cocaine, the report said.
Pankey was carrying $180 in cash, mostly in $10 bills. He also was carrying a plastic bag containing a rock of crack cocaine, plus markers indicating that he was selling pieces for $10, the report said.
Pankey was sentenced to life in prison for burglary in September 1966. He was paroled in April 1972. In January 1973, he was charged with raping a Youngstown State University student. While free on bond from that charge, he broke into a North Side home, tying up a man and sexually assaulting a woman.
He was sentenced in April 1973 to two consecutive terms of 10 to 25 years for armed robbery and three to 20 years for rape. He was paroled in September 2000.