Birthday boy is no-show for court hearing

Cary Ashby • Jan 8, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Tuesday was Salvador Rodriguez's 41st birthday.

Unfortunately, the birthday boy and suspected drug dealer didn't show up for his pre-trial hearing in Huron County Common Pleas Court.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo told Judge Jim Conway he didn't have any idea where his client was and didn't know if his absence was weather-related.

"I'm not sure what's up with him, in all honesty," Longo added.

Conway issued a failure-to-appear warrant at the request of Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler.

A similar incident happened in late October when Rodriguez didn't appear for a previous hearing. The judge issued a warrant for the suspect's arrest after giving his attorney a deadline to gather more information about the man's whereabouts.

Rodriguez is charged with trafficking in heroin in connection with an April 20 incident.

The Norwalk Police Department arrested Rodriguez and Luis M. Lopez, 25, of Lorain, that night on an allegation they sold drugs to a confidential informant in the city. The state Highway Patrol stopped the 2001 Ford Escape that Lopez was driving in Milan a short time after the controlled buy.

Officers recovered the buy money totaling $180, a small amount of suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Police Detective Sgt. Jim Fulton has said Lopez's girlfriend, a 27-year-old Lorain woman who owns the Escape, and their 3-year-old daughter were in the sport utility vehicle at the time of the drug buy.

Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28 on one count of trafficking in heroin. He earlier pleaded guilty to the fifth-degree felony in exchange for prosecutors dismissing a second, similar charge with a vehicle specification.

Rodriguez's trial is scheduled for Tuesday. Conway said the date could be changed if the suspect hasn't been arrested in the interim.

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