Feds sentence man who was caught with $500K of heroin


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A man who police said had $500,000 worth of heroin in his possession was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in federal prison.

Judge Dan Aaron Polster in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio in Cleveland handed down the sentence to Phillip Lemon II, 28, who pleaded guilty in November to charges of conspiracy to possess and sell heroin, conspiracy to possess and sell fentanyl and a sentencing specification because two handguns were found along with the drugs, and Lemon is barred from having guns because of previous drug-trafficking convictions.

The heroin weighed almost 3 pounds. It was found by Youngstown Police Department vice squad members serving a search warrant Dec. 10, 2015, at a McHenry Street home on the East Side.

The serving of the warrant capped off an investigation that began in November that year after the vice squad received tips and complaints that crack cocaine was being sold from the home.

An affidavit accompanying a search warrant for the home said crack cocaine was observed being sold from the home twice during the week of Nov. 23 and once during the week of Dec. 7.

Also seized during the search was $480 in cash, two .22-caliber semiautomatic pistols, several rounds of .22-caliber ammunition and two scales.

No crack cocaine was found. The warrant, however, included language that would cover finding other drugs or items associated with drug trafficking.

The heroin was found in two rooms of the house, according to the search warrant return.

Lemon was on the run for several months before he was caught in May 2016. He was indicted on drug charges in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, but those charges were dismissed when he was indicted by the federal government.

This is also not Lemon’s first drug-trafficking offense.

He was sentenced in federal court in 2012 after he was indicted in 2011 for being part of a ring distributing heroin on the East Side.

Lemon pleaded guilty and was to serve 30 months in prison, but he failed to appear and was indicted on another federal charge in 2012 for skipping his sentencing. He was taken into custody in that case, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months. Records do not show if that sentence was concurrent or consecutive to the 30-month sentence he received as part of the drug ring.

In May 2014, he was indicted in Mahoning County as being a member of the E Block gang on the West Side even though he was still in prison. He pleaded guilty in that case in December 2014 and was given a nine-month sentence to run concurrent with his federal sentences.

Due to all three cases, he is on three years’ probation.

Lemon also was given a sentence of two years for violating his federal parole. That sentence will run concurrent to his 15-year sentence.

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