Two from drug sweep plead guilty
By Jane Beathard
Two additional Madison County residents caught up in a September sweep of suspected drug dealers pleaded guilty to trafficking charges in Madison County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.
Joel Thomas Salyer, 19, of London, and Michelle L. Stevens, 24, of Mt. Sterling, were arrested, following a lengthy undercover investigation by the Madison County Drug Task Force.
On Thursday, Salyer was sentenced to nine months in prison after pleading guilty to selling heroin on June 3 and again on June 26 in the vicinity of a juvenile. Judge Robert D. Nichols agreed to a request by defense attorney Dale Frenz to delay the start of Salyer’s prison time until Jan. 2, allowing the man to spend the holidays with his young children.
Stevens pleaded guilty to selling the painkiller Oxycodone on May 24 in the vicinity of a child. An additional trafficking charge was dismissed as part of a plea bargain. Nichols ordered a brief pre-sentence investigation on Stevens and set sentencing for Feb. 8.
Also on Thursday, Buffie Renee Browning, 40, of London, was sentenced to 90 days in Tri-County Regional Jail and 18 months of community control for stealing and pawning $13,200 in heirloom jewelry from a friend and former co-worker between Feb. 13 and March 17.
Browning pleaded guilty in October to receiving stolen property in connection to the incident.
Nichols also ordered Browning to undergo evaluation at Madison County Mental Health for a possible drug problem and prohibited the woman from selling items at pawn shops and similar businesses. The judge delayed the start of Browning’s jail time until Dec. 27.
Prior to sentencing, the victim told Nichols she allowed Browning to move into her home after learning the woman was homeless. It was weeks before the victim realized the irreplaceable jewelry was missing.
“I feel so violated,” the woman told Nichols.
Browning said she regretted the theft and returned to Ohio from Florida to make amends.
“I came back here to get my house in order,” Browning told Nichols.
In other common pleas court action on Thursday:
• Benjamin M. Blaho, 21, of London, was fined $250 and sentenced to a year of community control for selling heroin on April 17.
Blaho pleaded guilty to the charge in October.
Defense attorney Joe Landusky said Blaho is currently enrolled in a drug treatment program in Columbus. Blaho must complete that program within a year under terms of the community control.
• Charles E. Logan, 44, of Grove City, was sentenced to six months in prison, after pleading guilty to breaking into Madison Garden Center in West Jefferson on June 21 and stealing equipment.
Logan is already serving 2.5 years for unrelated thefts in Franklin and Gallia counties. Thursday’s sentence ups that prison time to three years. Logan’s release date is now June 2015.