Drug trafficker sent to jail

Aaron Krause • Jun 23, 2014 at 12:12 AM

A Norwalk man pleaded guilty to an amended count of trafficking in oxycodone and received a jail sentence this week.

Thomas M. Papp, 34, of 114 Benedict Ave., could have received between six to 18 months behind bars and fined up to $5,000 in connection with the amended fourth degree felony.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway sentenced Papp on Thursday to 90 days in the Huron County Jail. He will serve 30 days as soon as he's eligible for the work release program and 60 days at the discretion of the probation department. Conway credited Papp with already serving four days.

The judge also placed Papp on basic supervision, required him to maintain verifiable full-time employment, show proof that he obtained his GED, be restricted under a curfew and undergo random urine analysis. Conway also suspended Papp's ability to get a driver's license for six months and ordered him to pay restitution to the Norwalk Police Department $240 to cover the cost of drug testing.

If Papp violates his terms, he faces 18 months in prison.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said Papp has a child on the way.

"He actually wants to be a dedicated father," Longo said, adding he wants to set a good example for his child.

Longo also said Papp's past involves minor crimes such as petty thefts. Longo said he believes this case is an "anomaly" for Papp.

Prosecutors agreed Papp has a short criminal history and didn't object to community control sanctions, but requested jail time. They also requested Papp pay $240 to the Norwalk Police Department as restitution to cover the cost of drug testing.

Papp's charge stems from trafficking in oxycodone in connection with a Sept. 9, 2012 incident.

The case garnered controversy after rumors surfaced that authorities used a warrant at the wrong Norwalk address in connection with the case. Huron County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Ted Patrick has said the rumors were "highly inaccurate. It's not factual."

He said deputies went to 114 1/2 Benedict Ave. to use a drug-related search warrant. Patrick said officers didn't arrest the male suspect they were seeking, but they used the warrant and seized evidence that will be tested by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

"We still haven't found the guy," he added.

While deputies were at the triplex, Patrick said the sheriff's office received a tip that a male suspect who lives nearby was wanted on a felony warrant.

"We did a knock-and-talk. We were invited into the home," he said. "We located two people in there who were wanted on two felony warrants. They were secret indictments."

Thomas M. Papp, 34, and his mother, Patricia Papp, 58, both of 114 Benedict Ave., were arrested.

"Mr. Papp gave himself up," Patrick said.

Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light had been notified beforehand that deputies would be using the warrant. He has said none of his officers were involved -- something he reaffirmed.

Papp is charged with trafficking in oxycodone in connection with a Sept. 9, 2012 incident. His mother faces a similar felony stemming from a July 8, 2012 offense.

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