ATV thief accused of having crack cocaine

Cary Ashby • Sep 10, 2013 at 9:07 PM

A former Willard man imprisoned for helping steal some four-wheelers was arraigned Monday on a new drug charge.

Ronald D. Ruff, 35, entered a "not guilty" plea to possession of cocaine base in connection with a June 19 traffic stop. His Huron County Common Pleas Court trial is scheduled for Dec. 17.

Sgt. Jason Demuth, of the state Highway Patrol's Norwalk post, stopped Ruff on Townline Road 12 by Keefer Street in Willard.

In July, Ruff was sentenced to 17 months in prison for grand theft of a motor vehicle. The conviction is for a Nov. 16, 2012 incident investigated by the Huron County Sheriff's Office.

"I never touched the four-wheelers; I just drove the truck," Ruff told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway in July. "I was running around with the wrong crowd."

Ruff also said he had been self-medicating on drugs, but that didn't excuse his behavior or the crimes he committed.

The defendant served 29 days in the Huron County Jail on the case. Ruff must pay $7,450 in restitution to the male victim.

As part of a June 4 plea deal, prosecutors dismissed one count each of theft, tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property.

Before the local case, Ruff finished serving 17 years in prison for an armed robbery in Detroit. He was 17 years old when he was convicted.

During Monday's hearing, the court appointed Curtis Koch to represent Ruff on the suspected crack cocaine case.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo, who handled the arraignment, said he couldn't represent Ruff because he represents the defendant's 40-year-old uncle, Randy Ruff, in another case.

Ruff is charged with three counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle. Authorities have said the man is accused of stealing two pickup trucks and an all-terrain vehicle from Townline Road 111, Plymouth.

He and two male suspects were arrested without incident April 29 by the U.S. Border Patrol after reportedly attempting to remove tires from a stolen vehicle, authorities said. Ruff was booked at Detroit's 2nd Precinct and remains in custody on undisclosed charges.

Longo said Michigan authorities haven't been willing to extradite Ruff to Ohio.

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