Suspect, deputy testify about Ecstasy

Cary Ashby • Jan 29, 2014 at 5:07 PM

A sheriff's deputy testified Tuesday he found a baggie "about the size of a golf ball" with suspected drugs from the vehicle of an Akron man.

Steven R. Spangenberg, 20, is charged with one count each of possession of methylecathinone (aka "Ecstasy") and theft of Ecstasy in connection with an Aug. 23 incident. His trial date is Feb. 6.

Huron County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Bardar was a detective when he stopped Spangenberg on Chenango Road. He said he saw a knotted-up baggie in the floorboard of the driver's side in plain view and it contained what appeared to be a white substance.

"It was a clear baggie tied in a knot. ... It was pretty big -- about the size of a golf ball," Bardar said.

Once Bardar got consent to search the vehicle, he said he found a similar sized bag under the driver's seat.

He detained Spangenberg and placed him in the back of his unmarked sport utility vehicle, where Bardar gave the suspect his Miranda rights and interviewed him. Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper played the recording of the interview for the court Tuesday.

When asked what else he had in the vehicle, Spangenberg said there was some cough syrup called "Lean" and "some hash."

Bardar said a confidential informant earlier had informed the sheriff's office that Spangenberg was expected to come to Huron County with some Ecstasy and Lean and was supposed to be driving a light-colored Ford Fusion

"A confidential informant called me and set everything up," said Spangenberg, who also testified Tuesday.

The defendant said he was supposed to meet the informant on Ferry Road about 8 p.m. Aug. 23, but he was running late. The deputy stopped him about 10:15.

Bardar was in the unmarked sheriff's truck on Chenango Road north of Ohio 18 when he saw Spangenberg driving southbound in a Fusion matching the informant's description. The deputy said the suspect passed him going the opposite way, so he turned around followed the car.

"It appeared to be going excessively fast," said Bardar, who estimated Spangenberg was going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Spangenberg reportedly tapped his brakes at the Ohio 18 intersection and didn't come to a complete stop, then continued southbound on Chenango. Bardar said he saw the suspect later go left of center for about 50 feet.

The defendant eventually turned left onto Ferry Road. Bardar, who passed Spangenberg going the opposite way on Ferry and then lost sight of him for a few minutes, saw the car again on Chenango and made the traffic stop based on the earlier rolling stop.

"His hand was shaking when he handed me the license," Bardar said. "He appeared to be very nervous."

Kasper and defense attorney Brett Murner must turn in their written closing arguments about Murner's motion to suppress evidence by the end of the business day Friday.

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