Champion man takes plea deal
Six other defendants have criminal cases pending.
By ED RUNYAN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A Champion man linked to six other people suspected of being Trumbull County drug dealers has accepted a plea agreement that is likely to lead to around one year in prison.
Robert Zadai, 26, of Shafer Road, pleaded guilty Monday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court to two counts of trafficking in marijuana with provisions for forfeiting a vehicle and one count of attempting to engage in a pattern of corrupt activity.
He will be sentenced after an investigation by the county's adult probation department.
Chuck Morrow, assistant county prosecutor, told Judge Andrew Logan that an investigation by the Trumbull, Ashtabula, Geauga Counties Law Enforcement Task Force caught Zadai selling more than 400 grams (14 ounces) of suspected marijuana at the Elm Road Giant Eagle in Warren on Feb. 28, 2005, and again at a location on Hoagland-Blackstub Road on March 8, 2005.
Morrow said he will recommend Zadai get one year in prison. The maximum Zadai could get is six to 18 months in prison on each of the trafficking charges and one to five years in prison on engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, for a total of up to eight years.
Judge Logan will decide on Zadai's sentence based on what the presentence investigation shows.
Sgt. Jeff Orr, commander of TAG, said Zadai lived with one of the other defendants, Lisa Boone, 29, who also faces drug trafficking charges. She is the daughter of defendant Sharon Boone, 46, of Pierce Road, Champion, and the sister of defendant Robert Boone, 26, of the Pierce Road address, who also face drug trafficking charges.
Others charged in the case are Jason Washington, 31, of Terra Alta Street, Warren; Christopher Jibotian, 20, North Park Avenue Extension, Bristolville; and James Albaugh, 29, of Mason Street, Warren.
Charges against the seven were filed after a one-year TAG investigation.
Investigators dubbed the investigation Operation Green Tree because during the probe, task force members determined that they were interrupting small criminal groups, or branches, with multiple ties to one family -- the Boones.
The six other defendants have hearings scheduled in the coming weeks.
During the investigation, eight locations were searched in Champion, Warren, Niles and Cortland. Using search warrants, police seized more than 44,000 in cash, four vehicles, three residential properties, a boat and other items.
Items authorities seized included six pounds of suspected marijuana, nearly a half-pound of suspected cocaine, and prescription drugs.
The operation began with Champion police when they began receiving anonymous tips about drug trafficking.
Orr said Sharon Boone was the girlfriend of Robert Coakley of Pierce Road, who went to federal prison on charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and filing a false tax return in 2002 and was released from prison Oct. 28, 2005.
Orr said the investigation shut down a major distribution ring and has had a positive impact on reducing the drug trade in the county.