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Norwalk man sent to the slammer

Cary Ashby • Apr 14, 2014 at 11:31 PM

A cocaine defendant who dropped evidence during a separate incident was sentenced Thursday to 17 months in prison.

Norwalk resident Gregory A. Meade, 27, pleaded guilty in February to two unrelated felonies. He was convicted of attempted tampering with evidence for a July 8 traffic stop and trafficking in cocaine for a Dec. 18 transaction.

"As far as tampering goes, it's at the bottom of the spectrum. It's literally dropping something in front of police and stepping on it," Huron County Public Defender David Longo said.

The tampering case relates to a traffic stop by the Norwalk Police Department.

Meade "got into a little bit of a jam" related to heroin, stole some checks, cashed them in Lorain and then drove to Cleveland to buy heroin. During the traffic stop, officers saw Meade try to hide and smash some hypodermic needles, but he was unsuccessful in doing so, Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said earlier.

Meade has "a very extreme juvenile record" and lengthy misdemeanor record as an adult, assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said Thursday.

"His supervision history is not good," added Woodruff, who said "the state would urge" the court to sentence Meade to prison.

Meade has been in the Huron County Jail for about five months.

"He's been working on his sobriety; that's a first," Longo said.

"I've had a problem with drugs and alcohol since I was young. I never tried to do anything about it," Meade said a few minutes later.

While in jail, Meade went to AA and underwent mental health counseling; he said he was doing everything he could to change his life.

After hearing from Meade and the attorneys, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told the defendant he has a history of committing substance abuse fueled-offenses "over and over again."

"I think your substance abuse history is driving your activities," the judge said.

Meade, whose driver's license is suspended for six months, must reimburse police $80 for the cost of drug testing.

Conway said he would give serious consideration to transferring Meade into a community-based corrections facility on early release from prison. Defendants spend four to six months in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

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