Drug trafficking, illegal drug use plague Shelby County

By Shannon Bohle - sbohle@aimmediamidwest.com

SIDNEY — Sentencing in Shelby County Common Pleas Court reveal that substance abuse and drug dealing continue to plague the county. Three individuals were sentenced to roughly one year of prison either as an initial sentence or as a consequence of violating their probation.

Aaron C. Case, 24, of Sidney, was sentenced to five years of probation, a $200 fine, and prosecution costs after pleading guilty on Sept. 24, 2021, to trafficking in drugs, a fourth degree felony. If costs cannot be paid, Case may perform community service. Additionally, the court ordered him to reside at STAR House, to complete drug and alcohol counseling, and to obtain a GED. On or about July 1, 2020, Case sold or offered to sell two types of controlled substances, Fentanyl and Tramadol. One charge was for attempting to sell Fentanyl near a school. For these activities, Case was initially indicted on three charges of drug trafficking (two were fifth degree felonies and one was a fourth degree felony), but these other charges were dismissed.

Keagan Donaldson, 33, of Sidney was sentenced to 11 months of prison time after pleading guilty to one charge of aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth degree felony, on Aug. 30, 2021. One day toward the sentencing was applied. In addition to prison time, Donaldson must pay prosecution and other fees and may face a discretionary 2-year probation after his release. On or about May 28, 2021, during a stop, Donaldson tried to hide or destroy Methamphetamine, Fentanyl, and Oxycodone pills which had been stored in bags. For these activities, Donaldson was initially indicted on five felony charges, which included tampering with evidence (a third degree felony), possession of drugs (a fourth degree felony), two counts of aggravated possession of drugs (each being a fifth degree felony), and possessing criminal tools (a fifth degree felony), but these other charges were dismissed.

Brian D. Esch, 52, of Bellefontaine, was sentenced to five years of probation, a $100 fine and prosecution costs, as well as mandated drug and alcohol counseling after he pleaded guilty on two counts of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, each fourth degree felonies, and a reduced charge of willful or wanton operation on a street, a fourth degree misdemeanor. He was originally indicted on four charges of the same fourth degree felony and one misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. On or about May 19, 2021, Esch had within his reach inside a vehicle four loaded weapons: a Springfield Armory Hellcat 9mm, Remington 1911 RIS, DPMS A15, and a Marlin 336W. On June 3, 2021, the grand jury found his weapons and ammunition, involved in a felony, were subject to forfeiture.

Ishmeal I. Mayfield, 24, of Sidney, was sentenced to five years of probation, a $200 fine and all prosecution costs, mandated drug and alcohol counseling, and his gun and ammunition were ordered to be disposed of by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He received nine days of jail credit. He was originally indicted for improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a fourth degree felony. On or about June 20, 2021, he had a loaded black Taurus G3 9mm on the rear passenger seat within reach. The grand jury found that the gun and ammunition were subject to forfeiture because of its involvement in a felony. On Aug. 27, 2021, Mayfield entered a plea of guilty to the reduced charge of attempted improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a fifth degree felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison, a $2,500 fine, and an optional two years of parole.

Mary E. Murray, 37, of Sidney, was sentenced to a prison term of 17 months after pleading guilty to trafficking in drugs, a fourth degree felony. Prosecution and other costs were ordered to be paid, or, in lieu of payment, community service must be performed. Upon release, Murry faces a discretionary probation of up to two years. Initially, Murray was indicted on two counts of trafficking in drugs (Fentanyl and Cocaine), each being a fourth degree felony, but the second felony was dismissed.

The inability to follow the rules of probation resulted in additional sentencing.

Jody Napier-Bunnell, 50, of Sidney, attended a Probation Violation Revocation Hearing where, after admitting to violating probation and found guilty, she was sentenced to serve 56 days in the Shelby County Jail, and to pay the prosecution costs or, if unable to do so, to perform community service. Previously, Napier-Bunnell was indicted on three fifth degree felonies, two for aggravated possession of drugs and one for possessing criminal tools. Two of the charges were dismissed and she was found guilty on Aug. 13, 2021, for having, on or about Oct. 22, 2018, illegally possessed the synthetic opioid Fentanyl.

Joshua Shields, 33, of Piqua, was released on probation but sentenced to the WORTH Center (or other community-based correctional facility) where he must complete treatment. On or about Oct. 9, 2021, Shields admitted violating his probation by abusing the prescription drug Buprenorphine-Naloxone (Suboxone). Previously, on Nov. 25, 2019, he had been convicted of possession of drugs (cocaine), a fifth degree felony. Two additional indictments against him (aggravated possession of drugs (Methamphetamine) and possessing criminal tools (containers, scales, a pipe, and baggies), each a a fifth degree felony, were dismissed.

Anthony W. Smith, 30, of Sidney, was sentenced to 12 months in prison after he admitted probable cause for violating probation on Oct. 6, 2021. Previously, on Nov. 13, 2020, Smith was convicted on a fifth degree felony for possession of drugs (cocaine) as well as trafficking in drugs (marijuana), a fifth degree felony that was reduced to a fourth degree felony. A third charge of possessing criminal tools was dismissed.

By Shannon Bohle