Prison officer indicted on drug charges

Staff report


A Mahoning County grand jury has indicted a law-enforcement official on drug-trafficking charges.

Christopher J. Reda, 51, of West Wilson Street, Struthers, a corrections officer at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, is charged with four counts of OxyContin trafficking, all third-degree felonies, with a $1,690 cash forfeiture for purported ill-gotten gains from the drug trafficking.

A third-degree felony carries a penalty of one to five years in prison.

According to the indictment, Reda sold the drug in the county between October 2011 and last month, but there’s no evidence he sold drugs at the penitentiary, said Martin P. Desmond, an assistant county prosecutor.

The indictment says Reda sold or offered to sell between 15 and 75 of the 30-milligram doses of the painkiller on four occasions — Oct. 27, Nov. 17, Dec. 6 and Jan. 4.

JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, said prison officials were alerted to the indictment Thursday, which was Reda’s day off.

When Reda returns to work today, Smith said he’ll immediately be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an administrative investigation by the prison.

Reda earns $18.13 hourly and has been a corrections officer at the penitentiary since Oct. 23, 2006, she said.

This is not the first time a local man with a tie to a state penal institution has faced criminal charges.

In 2008, Bradley T. Ferguson, 45, of Warren, a food- service worker at Trumbull Correctional Institution in Leavittsburg was fired after being indicted by that county’s grand jury on charges of cocaine possession and illegally bringing drugs to a detention facility.

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