A motion to suppress evidence in the case of a Greenfield man charged with a number of drug-related offenses was overruled in Highland County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.
Kacy Clouser, 33, who court records show was previously of Hillsboro, still faces charges levied in an October indictment charging first-degree felony counts of trafficking in and possession of heroin, second-degree felony counts of aggravated trafficking in and aggravated possession of methamphetamine, and fifth-degree felony cocaine possession.
As previously reported, those charges came after the contents of a vehicle to be forfeited in another case led law enforcement to obtain a search warrant for Clouser’s residence, which turned up 153 grams of suspected heroin, as well as “a large amount of crystal methamphetamine,” and other drug-related items.
On Wednesday, defense attorney Bill Armintrout sought to suppress evidence obtained in that search warrant based on the warrant-issuing judge not having accurate information at the time of the document’s issuance, and that the affidavit used to obtain the warrant relied on two instances three months prior to the October warrant.
The inaccurate information in the affidavit, Armintrout argued, was the vehicle that was inventoried did not legally belong to Clouser and law enforcement knew it, but referred to the vehicle in the affidavit as belonging to the defendant. He said the judge never had the information that the vehicle was titled to another person.
Prosecutor Anneka Collins, however, said that Clouser “had full possession of the car” and that confidential informants testified that the car was Clouser’s as that is where they purchased drugs from him. Law enforcement knew the car to be the defendant’s as well, she said, regardless of who the car was registered to.
Armintrout also argued an issue of “staleness” in that three months had passed from two observed drug buys in July to the October warrant obtained to search Clouser’s residence. He said there was nothing in between those July dates and the October warrant to indicate that the warrant wasn’t based on more.
In the four-page affidavit, information from the two dates in July take up about two pages. The other two pages contain information provided by confidential informants, as well as what law enforcement observed.
Collins contended that Armintrout was ignoring the rest of the information. She said it wasn’t just two drug buys, but four pages of information that shows “a pattern of behavior.”
“It’s not stale, it’s a history,” she said.
Ultimately, judge Rocky Coss determined that based on the information the court had with evidence and testimony, which was given Wednesday by Det. Sgt. Chris Bowen of the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, that no matter who the vehicle was titled to, it was “reasonable to believe” the car belonged to Clouser. It is not an uncommon occurrence that a car associated with one person is registered to another, he said.
As to the issue of “staleness,” the judge said it was not unusual for “drug and other complex investigations” to take months.
Coss said the car was seized as part of another case, and after what was found inside the car, which also included items belonging to Clouser, it was “reasonable to believe” based on the drugs and paraphernalia found that drugs could be in the residence.
Coss said there was a “reasonable conclusion reached based on the totality of evidence.” The judge overruled the motion.
In other hearings, Joshua L. Lowe, 33, Hillsboro, was sentenced to community control and treatment for fourth-degree felony domestic violence.
Jacob Cowman, 22, Greenfield, was sentenced to community control and treatment for fifth-degree felony heroin trafficking and fourth-degree felony trafficking in heroin in the vicinity of a school.
Sidney Binegar, 19, Greenfield, was sentenced to community control and treatment for one count of fifth-degree felony trafficking in heroin, two counts of fifth-degree felony possession of heroin, and one count of fourth-degree felony trafficking in heroin in the vicinity of a school.
Samantha Rapp, 36, Ray, was sentenced to community control and treatment for two counts of fifth-degree felony heroin trafficking.
Robert Perie, 53, Greenfield, and Sharon Barber, 48, also of Greenfield, in separate cases each pled guilty to fifth-degree felony drug charges.
Perie and Barber each were granted intervention in lieu of conviction. While a person is engaged in the program, further prosecution on the case halts. When a person successfully completes intervention in lieu of conviction, the charges against them are dismissed.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.