Sidney man among trio indicted in drug, cash, vehicle seizure case

SIDNEY – A 60-year-old city man was one of three people indicted on five drug-related felony charges following a search of his home. The cases also include the possible loss of four vehicles and a large amount of cash.

On Thursday, the Shelby County grand jury handed down criminal indictments involving 15 people in cases. Those indicted will be arraigned in Common Pleas Court Thursday at 10 a.m., unless noted.

All three defendants received identical charges stemming from a Jan. 5 arrest in Sidney. Charged are Leon J. Francis Sr., 60, 1235 St. Marys Ave., and Leon J. Francis Jr., 32, and Sarah Jones, 31, both of same address in Cave Junction, Oregon.

According to online court records, the trio are each charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony; aggravated trafficking in drugs, a third-degree felony; two counts of trafficking in drugs, both third and fourth-degree felonies; and possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony.

The grand jury also included specification conditions in the charges. They include the forfeiture of $246,322 in cash believed to be derived from drug sales, and, a 2018 Outback Ultra Lite camper, and a 2015 Ford F-250 pick-up truck allegedly bought with cash from drug sales and used in the commission of the crimes. All items were confiscated at the time of their arrest.

According to authorities, a search warrant was executed by Sidney and Piqua Police Departments, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol at the home of Francis Sr. Officers reportedly saw Jones enter the residence. Reportedly, no one answered the door and a narcotics search warrant was requested.

Francis Sr. was in the house while Jones was allegedly discovered in the camper along with drugs and cash. Officers recovered marijuana, hash, and THC products, and the cash that were concealed in the camper parked behind the residence.

Prior to the search, Francis Jr. left the residence in the pickup truck and was located by police at 760 E. Hoewisher Road. Authorities later seized the camper and truck.

The record noted the drug activity was within 1,000 feet of Northwood Elementary School, which impacted the level of the charges.

Francis Sr. allegedly claimed the marijuana, hash oil, and other THC products located in a bedroom in the house were for his personal use.

Investigators believe the camper and truck were used as part of a large drug trafficking trade spanning multiple states. The report also indicates the St. Marys Avenue residence was home to parties believed to be involved with the suspected trafficking enterprise.

A Sidney man is being accused of improper sexual behavior and faces four felony charges.

Cameron N. Alexander, 23, 331 Sycamore Ave., is charged with four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, all fourth-degree felonies.

He allegedly had sexual intercourse with a girl aged 13 to 14, four times between during the span of July 2016 and December 2017.

A 40-year-old Anna man has been charged with domestic violence, a third-degree felony.

Thomas S. Doak, 13000 Lochard Road, Anna, allegedly slapped his 12-year-old son and pulled his hair causing injury. The record noted Doak has two previous domestic violence convictions.

In other cases:

• Gregory D. Russell, 42, 825 Spruce Ave., felonious assault, a second-degree felony. He allegedly struck another inmate at the Shelby County Jail causing the victim to sustain a concussion.

• Austin James Depinet, 21, 514 Second Ave., was charged with safecracking, a fourth-degree felony, and theft, a fifth-degree felony. He is accused on stealing a safe, cash and jewelry from a residence at 311 ½ Maple St. on March 1.

• Matthew A. Roe, 28, 14175 Sidney-Freyburg Road, Anna, is charged with aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, and possession of drugs, a first-degree misdemeanor.

He was arrested March 8 allegedly with Adderall and Valium.

• John Knasel, 53, 926 Spruce Ave., aggravated possession of drugs and possession of criminal tools, both fifth-degree felonies. He was arrested on March 9 allegedly in possession of methamphetamine.

• Darrell R. Hewitt, 30, at large, aggravated possession of drugs and possession of criminal tools, both fifth-degree felonies. He is accused of having methamphetamine when he was arrested on June 20.

• Adam Pitcock, 37, at large, aggravated possession of drugs and possession of criminal tools, both fifth-degree felonies. She supposedly possessed Carfentanil when he was arrested on April 15.

• Devin L. Wilkins, 27, at large, two counts of aggravated possession of drugs, both fifth-degree felonies. He is being accused of having Carfentanil and methamphetamine when he was arrested on April 10.

• Melody Brandts, 26, Celina, is charged with failure to appear, a fourth-degree felony. She is accused of not appearing for her sentencing hearing in a separate case on March 8.

• Justin David Luna, 29, Flat Gap, Kentucky, was charged with possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony. He was arrested on March 15 supposedly with marijuana. He will be arraigned on April 26.


Francis Sr. Sr.

Francis Jr. Jr.


By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News



The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.