Norwalk coke dealer gets 1 year in prison

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:15 PM


A Norwalk man was sentenced to one year in prison Tuesday for selling cocaine in his former West Main Street home.

On April 28, a Huron County Common Pleas Court jury found Martin Garcia, 38, of 129 Whittlesey Ave., guilty of trafficking in cocaine after a two-day trial. Testimony revealed the April 1, 2007 transaction happened in the vicinity of a juvenile, believed to be one of Garcia's relatives.

Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Todd Temple said Garcia had been selling cocaine for a "substantial amount of time" before the controlled drug purchase.

"It was more than a few months," Temple added. "I just hope he learns from this to not take part in any drug activity selling or using or anything."

Confidential informant Heather Ruffin agreed to coordinate drug buys starting on March 28, 2007 in exchange for police dropping a marijuana misdemeanor offense. She is married to one of Garcia's best friends and knew the defendant for about seven years. Ruffin carried a small digital recorder in the pocket of her sweatpants during the transaction in Garcia's bedroom.

Garcia testified he sold or gave marijuana but not cocaine multiple times to Ruffin since before Dec. 21, 2006. During his closing statement, Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said Garcia "minimized his conduct" in the cocaine case and admitted to all of the marijuana allegations because it didn't "hurt him."

Woodruff said the key to the case was listening to the recording, in which Garcia used cocaine-related slang with Ruffin. She paid Garcia $50 for the drugs.

Defense attorney Greg Shell attempted to show Ruffin wasn't a credible witness during the trial. He accused the informant of being "up to her ears in drugs" while working cocaine, heroin and marijuana cases for police.

Shell and Woodruff were unavailable for further comment.

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