An Akron man who drove to Huron County with the intention of selling Ecstasy pleaded guilty to a related charge Thursday.
Steven R. Spangenberg, 20, was convicted of one count of trafficking in methylecathinone (aka "Ecstasy") in exchange for prosecutors dismissing one count of possession of Ecstasy. He remains out on bond and will be sentenced March 26.
Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said he already had ruled in the state's favor after a Huron County sheriff's deputy testified in late January about defense attorney Brett Murner's motion to suppress evidence. However, Conway said the state was willing to allow Spangenberg to plead guilty before his trial, which also was scheduled for Thursday.
Deputy Eric Bardar was a detective when he stopped Spangenberg on Chenango Road on Aug. 23. The deputy said he saw a knotted-up baggie, which contained a white substance, in the floorboard of the driver's side in plain view. Bardar estimated the baggie was "about the size of a golf ball."
Once the deputy got consent to search the vehicle, he said he found a similar sized bag under the driver's seat.
"Mr. Spangenberg was cooperative with the law enforcement officer," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said Thursday.
Authorities had the drug tested and determined it was 14.1 grams of Ecstasy, which also has a street name of "Mollie." Kasper said the Ecstasy had a street value of $350.
Before the traffic stop, a confidential informant informed the sheriff's office that Spangenberg was expected to come to Huron County for a drug buy. Bardar was in the unmarked sheriff's truck on Chenango Road north of Ohio 18 when he saw Spangenberg driving southbound in a Ford Fusion matching the informant's description.
"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 defendant later go left of center for about 50 feet and stopped the defendant in connection with the rolling stop.