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'I've had a problem with drugs and alcohol since I was young'

Cary Ashby • Jul 29, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Cocaine defendant Gregory A. Meade told the judge he wants the tools to get sober and live a healthy life.

"I've had problems with drugs and alcohol for a long time," the 27-year-old former Norwalk resident said during a recent court hearing.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway, with no objection from prosecutors, granted Meade's motion for early release from prison. On April 10, he received a 17-month term for unrelated convictions of attempted tampering with evidence and trafficking in cocaine.

Meade will be held in the Huron County Jail until he is released into a community-based corrections facility -- something Conway said he would consider when the defendant was sentenced. Defendants spend four to six months in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

"We think he'll be a good candidate," Huron County Public Defender David Longo said. "He's certainly willing to do whatever it takes."

Before going to prison, Meade worked on his sobriety when he was in jail. He attended AA meetings and underwent mental health counseling. Meade had told the court he was doing everything he could to change his life.

"I've had a problem with drugs and alcohol since I was young. I never tried to do anything about it," he said in April.

Meade's attempting tampering conviction is for a July 8, 2013 traffic stop by the Norwalk Police Department. Attorneys have said Meade stole some checks, cashed them in Lorain, then drove to Cleveland to buy heroin and during the local traffic stop, officers saw him try to hide and smash some hypodermic needles, but he was unsuccessful in doing so.

The cocaine case is for a Dec. 18 controlled drug buy. Meade must reimburse police $80 for the cost of drug testing.

If he violates his three years of intensive post-release control, which includes random drug screens, he must complete the rest of his 17-month prison sentence.

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