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Cleveland man pleads guilty to drug offense

YOUNGSTOWN — A Cleveland man who has been in the Mahoning County jail since his arrest in December has pleaded guilty to a high-level drug offense and possessing a firearm.

Joevon L. Dawson, 30, pleaded guilty last week to fentanyl-related compound possession, being a felon in possession of a firearm and a forfeiture specification.

Bail bond agents from Cleveland had come to Youngstown looking for Dawson last December to take him into custody on a burglary warrant but had to leave him in Youngstown after finding him with drugs and other items.

The agents said they had been looking for Dawson for several weeks in the Youngstown area and saw him getting out of a car in the 700 block of Kendis Circle at 11:40 a.m. Dec. 1.

He was carrying a bag and tried to hand it to the woman with him, but she refused to take it and fled, the agents told Youngstown police.

After securing Dawson in the back of their vehicle, the agents looked in the bag and found a handgun, suspected narcotics, $3,232 in cash and a digital scale, which they turned over to Youngstown police.

Dawson pleaded guilty last week before Judge Anthony D’Apolito to the drug charge, which is a first-degree felony, plus the weapons charge and a specification that $2,232 will be forfeited, according to a court document.

Dawson will be sentenced at 10 a.m. Sept. 2. He could get more than 10 years in prison.

The city of Cleveland agreed to pay Dawson $87,500 in June 2017 to resolve a civil suit Dawson filed after a police officer shot Dawson, who was unarmed, in the armpit during an arrest by a Cleveland police in June 2015.

The Cleveland.com website reported that the officer shot Dawson during a traffic stop regarding a months-old warrant on a drug trafficking charge. Six officers ordered Dawson and two other men out of a car, and officer Jon Periandri was the only one to open fire.

Dawson and the city agreed to the settlement following mediation by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster.

Cleveland police originally said that Dawson pulled out a gun before Periandri opened fire, but records showed the only weapon recovered at the scene was found inside a center console of the car after the shooting, Cleveland.com reported.

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