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Heroin dealer says he was 'love struck' while dating felon

Cary Ashby • Mar 21, 2013 at 8:55 AM

The drug defendant said he was "love struck" when he was dating a felon for about a year.

"I was in love. I thought I was being loved back; that wasn't the case," James M. Baker told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway. "It won't happen again."

Associating with a known felon was one of several probation violations Baker, 32, formerly of New London, addressed Monday in court.

His attorney, Huron County Public Defender David Longo, said "other people" apparently knew Baker's now ex-girlfriend had a felony conviction, but Baker didn't find out until later.

"Apparently it came up later," Longo said.

Baker admitted to the judge he had what appeared to be two bad months -- a reference to the probation violation complaints -- but said testing positive for marijuana during a Jan. 7 drug screen "was the first time I failed a drug test in 14 months."

The Tiffin resident said he smoked one joint on New Year's Eve "just as the ball dropped."

Another complaint involved a Jan. 30 conviction through Tiffin Municipal Court. He violated a protection order when Baker was at the female victim's residence.

"Nobody got hurt," said Longo, who explained that Baker "fell for" the woman telling him she had dropped a civil protection order. "There's no allegation he laid a finger on her in anger."

The judge asked Baker, who claimed to have a laborer job waiting for him, what would keep him from appearing in court for another probation violation.

"My job," the defendant said. "I'm done with drugs."

Conway requested Longo obtain information on his client's possible employment for him to study before making a ruling. Baker will be held in the Huron County Jail without bond until his next hearing, on Monday.

In late February 2011, Baker was sentenced to 90 days in jail on the work release program for a trafficking in heroin conviction. He also was fined $500 and ordered to pay $40 in restitution to the Huron County Sheriff's Office to cover the costs of drug testing as part of his three years of intensively supervised probation.

Then in June of that same year, Baker pleaded guilty to three counts of trafficking in cocaine. He was fined $250 in July 2011 and ordered to spend four to six months in a community-based corrections facility (CBCF), a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education. Baker successfully completed the CBCF program.

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