Attorneys recommend four year sentence in drug case


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

One of six leaders of a drug ring that was importing drugs to the Mahoning Valley from Arizona and Mexico entered guilty pleas Monday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court

Jonathan Centeno, 32, of Campbell, entered guilty pleas to charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in marijuana in the vicinity of a juvenile, two counts of trafficking in marijuana and complicity to trafficking in marijuana.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed on a sentence of four years. Judge Maureen A. Sweeney is hearing the case.

Sentencing will take place after a pre-sentence investigation by the Adult Parole Authority.

Centeno was one of 20 people a county grand jury secretly indicted in November.

Another member of the ring, Chris Simmons, 40, also pleaded guilty Monday before Judge Sweeney to a charge of possession of heroin. Prosecutors are recommending a two-year sentence in that case. His sentencing also will follow a pre-sentence investigation.

Centeno was one of six members charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity count, a charge commonly meted out to leaders or members of a criminal organization who are high up.

According to the state attorney general’s office, which helped the county prosecutors office prosecute the case, the ring was supplied with drugs that came from California, Michigan and Arizona and were sometimes shipped by mail to the home addresses of the members, who in turn divided the drugs for street-level dealers to sell.

The ring leaders would make money off selling marijuana, and then invest some of that money in obtaining heroin to sell, according to the attorney general’s office.

Federal court records show Centeno was charged in 2007 with being in another drug organization, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 121 months in prison. Federal court records, however, do not indicate if Centeno received any kind of early release, but he is currently in federal custody because his arrest in the state case violated the terms of any supervised release in the federal case.

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