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Money forfeited with guilty plea



Published: Fri, June 20, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Tim Yovich

Minich’s bond was modified so he doesn’t have to wear a monitoring device while awaiting sentencing.

WARREN — A 27-year-old Howland Township man agreed to forfeit $355,000 cash along with other property as he pleaded guilty to drug peddling.

Richard Minich pleaded guilty Thursday before Judge John M. Stuard of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court to two counts of trafficking in marijuana. One count of possession of marijuana was dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Chuck Morrow, an assistant county prosecutor, described Minich as a “middle-level drug dealer.” Judge Stuard ordered a pre-sentence report completed on Minich before sentencing. That normally takes about six weeks.

Minich was charged after a series of Jan. 9 raids at his residence on Fairlawn Heights Drive and rental properties in Warren.

Authorities seized the cash and 60 pounds of neatly packaged marijuana. It had been described at the time as one of the largest drug raids in recent years in Trumbull County.

Minich stood silently as the guilty plea was entered by his attorney, J. Gerald Ingram of Boardman. Morrow said he won’t make a sentencing recommendation.

He could be sentenced to a maximum 61‚Ñ2 years in prison and fined $15,000. Morrow pointed out that Minich has no criminal record.

In the agreement, Minich is also required to forfeit a 2002 Cadillac Escalade, two 9mm pistols, a 38-caliber handgun, 12-gauge shotgun, scales and money counters.

Morrow said $13,000 cash, a motorcycle and wedding gifts will be returned to Minich.

At the request of Ingram, Judge Stuard modified Minich’s $250,000 bond so he isn’t required to wear an electronic monitoring device. Morrow agreed with the modification, pointing out that if Minich commits a crime, he will be jailed.

Minich was arrested after an investigation by the Trumbull-Ashtabula Group, a law enforcement task force, and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation with the assistance of Howland and Warren police.

The $355,000 will be split between the county prosecutor’s office and TAG.

Jeffrey Orr, TAG commander, said the money will be used as buy money in other drug investigations, to purchase equipment and used as the local share to obtain government grants.

yovich@vindy.com


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