Arraignments held for those charged in heroin case


Arraignments were held today in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for those facing state charges in a major heroin case.

Assistant Prosecutor Martin Desmond said eight of 37 people facing state charges for their role in the case were still missing and warrants were issued for their arrests during the arraignments before Magistrate Dan Dascenzo.

The 37 are part of a ring that prosecutors said was bringing in heroin from New York for a over two years. Federal prosecutors indicted 18 people on charges of distributing heroin, conspiracy to distribute heroin and using a telephone to distribute drugs as part of the same case.

Those indicted in federal court have been described as those doing the drug dealing while those indicted on state charges were users and it was hoped that by indicting them in common pleas court they would also be able to receive treatment for their drug problems.

In federal court, sentences are often more harsh, which is why the dealers were indicted federally.

The indictments were issued last week but unsealed Wednesday and police made several arrests of those who were indicted.

Those indicted in state court face fifth degree felony charges of either possession of criminal tools or possession of heroin. Most of those arraigned Friday said they needed a court appointed attorney because they did not have jobs and had not worked for several weeks, and in some cases years.

Dascenzo set $2,500 signature bonds for most of those who were arraigned.

Desmond said those facing charges in common pleas court were charged with criminal activity dating from February to June of this year.

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