WILMINGTON —The discovery of nearly 130 pounds of marijuana that was reportedly bound for Bainbridge resulted in a California man being sentenced to nine months in prison last week.
Sean Brian Lewie, 27, of California, with family connections in Columbus, was one of two men charged following the November 2015 shipment of marijuana to Wilmington. His co-defendant, Ryan J. Ward, 27, of Columbus, has pled guilty to the same crime as Lewie — attempted trafficking in marijuana. Ward’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for mid-January.
Homeland Security contacted the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office in fall 2015, advising of a suspicious package coming from Oakland, Calif. and en route to the R&L Carriers transportation facility near Wilmington, according to an affidavit by Clinton County Sgt. Det. Doug Eastes. The crate then was to be shipped to an address in Bainbridge.
A couple days later, a drug detection dog alerted on the suspicious crate, and a search of the crate’s contents yielded 131 individually wrapped bags of marijuana, stated the affidavit.
Law enforcement personnel repackaged the contents into the crate, and Lewie and Ward arrived at R&L Carriers to pick it up, according to the affidavit.
The two men removed the box containing marijuana from the crate and loaded it into a pickup truck and left. A traffic stop was conducted, and Ward admitted he knew the crate held marijuana whereas Lewie declined to give a statement to officers, the affidavit stated.
The wrapped bags of marijuana bore individual markings on the bags indicating the strain of marijuana inside, stated Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck in his written judgment entry.
“The contraband was clearly intended for resale,” the judge wrote. “It appears to have been a sophisticated operation.”
Rudduck added that Lewie had been “less than truthful to local authorities on multiple occasions.”
Prosecution recommended community control sanctions for Lewie, including a local jail term of at least 60 days. However, Rudduck ordered a nine-month term of state prison for the defendant, referring in his sentencing document to the harm caused to the community by drug trafficking.
Because a motor vehicle was used in the transport of the illegal drug, Lewie’s operator’s license and his privilege to drive in Ohio was suspended for 12 months.
Lewie agreed to forfeit to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office $644 seized from him. The sheriff is directed to use the funds as proceeds from illegal drug trafficking.