Former Benji Brown’s Bar owner indicted on drug, fraud charges


Charges stem from a raid at the defendant’s home in March.

STAFF REPORT

WARREN — Embattled former city bar owner Lashawn Ziegler has been secretly indicted by the Trumbull County grand jury on a number of charges, including drug peddling.

Ziegler, 35, of Parkwood Drive, pleaded innocent Friday to one count each of insurance fraud, falsification, possession of marijuana with a firearm specification and trafficking in marijuana with a firearm specification, three counts of tampering with evidence and two counts of receiving stolen property.

Ziegler surrendered Friday in the courtroom of Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court with his attorney, Gilbert Rucker of Warren.

The judge set bond at $2,500 bond and a pre-trial hearing for Wednesday.

The charges stem from a March 13 raid at Ziegler’s Parkwood home.

Authorities said two stolen vehicles — a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette and a BMW — were found at his home. He had filed a claim with the insurance carrier, contending one of them was stolen from him. The prosecutor’s office also is seeking forfeiture of $13,123 cash.

In April, his Benji Brown’s Bar on North Park Avenue was raided by the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit and Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The club didn’t have a liquor permit, and authorities seized a large amount of liquor and beer and suspected drugs.

The raid was executed after city police received numerous complaints from neighbors about loud music and littering and patrons parking in residential driveways and illegally. There was a homicide outside the club.

Ziegler, however, has said that the city is picking on him.

Ziegler was charged in Warren Municipal Court with operating without a liquor permit and unlawful storage of alcohol. The cases are pending.

The city boarded up Benji Brown’s as a nuisance and it remains closed.

The city also shut down a Ziegler bar in 2004. His 77 Soul on Youngstown Road was closed because of building violations.

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