Judge accepts drug trafficking plea

A plea agreement for a Summit County man came to a grinding halt in Washington County Common Pleas Court Monday when the man claimed that cocaine found during a February search warrant was for personal use and not for resale.

Torrey Swain, 32, who had been staying at 121 Spring St., Marietta, at the time of arrest, had been set to plead guilty to trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony.

“Yes sir, they were mine,” Swain said, admitting to the five grams of cocaine found at the Spring Street residence on Feb. 27.

However, when Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane asked Swain if the drugs had been intended for resale, Swain denied it.

“No sir. It was for my use,” said Swain.

In turn, Lane suspended the proceedings.

“You don’t have the elements of a trafficking charge here, gentlemen,” Lane told Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider and public defense attorney Ray Smith.

However, after a short recess and conversation with his client, Smith said Swain was willing to admit the drugs had been for resale.

“What was the misunderstanding before?” Lane asked Swain after the 10-minute recess.

Swain said he did not realize officers had found more than one bag of cocaine.

“I didn’t know they found three different bags. It was just a misunderstanding,” Swain told Lane.

At the time of his arrest, Swain was wanted on a warrant for a parole violation in Summit County.

Swain had been convicted of drug trafficking and drug possession in Summit County in December 2010, said Schneider.

Agents from the Major Crimes Task Force received a tip from the probation department in Akron that Swain was staying in Marietta with Monica Moening, the mother of his 5-year-old daughter.

Moening pleaded guilty in Marietta Municipal Court to child endangerment and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 120 of which were suspended.

Agents executed a search warrant for Swain at Moening’s home and found cocaine, an unspecified amount of Suboxone pills and 91 Alprazolam (Xanax) pills at the residence.

Swain was initially indicted on three third-degree felony counts of trafficking, one each for the cocaine, Suboxone and Alprazolam pills.

The prosecution dismissed the Suboxone and Alprazolam charges and changed the language of the cocaine charge so that it no longer said that the trafficking was committed in the presence of a juvenile.

“That would reduce it from a third to a fourth degree,” said Schneider.

As part of the plea deal, Swain also agreed to forfeit $1,845 in cash and an Apple iPad and case that were seized during the arrest.

“These items were the proceeds of illegal trafficking activities,” said Schneider.

Satisfied that Swain’s changed story was true, Lane accepted the guilty plea and ordered Swain to be sentenced on March 14.

He faces up to 18 months in prison, a $5,000 fine, and a five-year driving suspension on the charge.