Herron targets Salem houses
Eight county residents have been sentenced on federal charges.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Columbiana County Prosecutor Robert Herron said he is seeing a change in the local fight against drugs.
"People are starting to listen a little. It's a sign of progress," Herron said Thursday.
The prosecutor has been trying to alert county residents to the growing drug problem with little support until the last few days.
New county Commissioner Daniel Bing noted that a sales tax was needed to help create jobs and fight the drug problem.
Bing's comments came Wednesday as authorities were boarding up a house in East Liverpool that has been the site of about 40 reports of various crimes from 2000 to 2006.
It was the first such move in the county under a new state law that allows authorities to ask a court to declare a property is a nuisance and board it up for a year.
Herron said he is seeing a change that will allow a proactive approach and greater community involvement.
The prosecutor plans to ask landlords or owners to clean up two properties in Salem that are suspected drug sites. He did not identify the locations.
Herron said East Liverpool Mayor James P. Swoger stopped by as the house was being boarded up.
Swoger, city police, and the county drug task force are discussing which owners or landlords in East Liverpool should get similar requests.
If landlords or owners don't comply, Herron said he can file similar cases. He said he expects the program will be ongoing.
Salem Law Director C. Brooke Zellers has urged that city's residents to get involved and report any suspected drug activity; Herron said he will also seek Zellers' involvement with owners and landlords.
April drug raid
Herron noted that his office helped to get stiffer federal sentences for some people charged after a major drug raid last April conducted by federal, state and local authorities.
Some 20 people were each charged in U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The drugs would have had a street value of 3.3 million.
Ten of those defendants have been sentenced. Four more have made plea arrangements but have not been sentenced. The others are awaiting trial.
Of the 10, one defendant from Toronto, Ohio, got four months of incarceration and three years' supervised release. An Akron woman got 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
Of the remaining defendants, seven were from East Liverpool and one was from Wellsville. Their sentences ranged from a low of 30 months in prison and three years' supervised release to 188 months in prison followed by eight years of supervised release.