UPDATE 2 - Jury on Garcia cocaine case still out

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:13 PM

A Huron County Common Pleas Court jury continued its deliberations this morning in the case of a Willard man accused of selling cocaine last year.

Martin Garcia, 37, is charged with trafficking in cocaine stemming from an April 1, 2007 incident at his former West Main Street home in Norwalk. If convicted of the fourth-degree felony, he faces six to 18 months behind bars and a $5,000 maximum fine.

Garcia testified Friday he sold drugs previously to confidential informant Heather Ruffin, but he twice denied selling her any cocaine. Garcia said the informant came to his former Norwalk home, where was the landlord, and he talked about some remodeling projects he was doing before they went into his bedroom.

"She made hand gesture. I said, 'I don't mess like that,'" he told the court.

Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff, in his closing statement, said the suspected transaction happened in Garcia's bedroom. The prosecutor said an audio recording of the incident indicates Garcia used slang with Ruffin that referred to cocaine.

"In the bedroom, there was a hand-to-hand exchange," Woodruff said.

Garcia said he only gave Ruffin some marijuana and talked to a source who "said he could get some more" later.

"Are there any other friends you just give marijuana to?," Woodruff asked Garcia on cross-examination.

"No," the defendant said.

Defense attorney Greg Shell said Ruffin isn't a credible witness because she admitted to using drugs while she was a police informant and snorted some cocaine during an unrelated "buy-bust" about one month after the Garcia incident.

The jury deliberated for more than two hours Friday afternoon, but failed to reach a verdict before being sent home. The jurors resumed deliberations at 9 a.m. today.

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