Thursday, August 29, 2002

Ex-student pleads guilty to drug trafficking




By Sheila McLaughlin, smclaughlin@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — One of two former Bowling Green State University students pleaded guilty to drug trafficking Wednesday in a case that authorities say involved the largest undercover sale of marijuana in Warren County.

        Michael Ryan Garity, 22, of the Toledo area, faces up to five years in prison and a mandatory $5,000 fine when he returns to common pleas court for sentencing in about one month.

        His ex-roommate, Brian C. Mutter, 22, of Holland, Ohio, is expected to end his case on the same note Friday, the same day the two were scheduled to go on trial.

        They were arrested May 2, accused of selling 12 pounds of “high-grade” marijuana to drug task force agents at the Holiday Inn Express in Springboro.

        Authorities said undercover agents made 10 to 15 smaller drug buys from Mr. Mutter and Mr. Garity over three months leading up to the bust.

        Police confiscated a total of 20 pounds of marijuana, including five pounds at the off-campus apartment Mr. Mutter and Mr. Garity shared in Bowling Green. The marijuana was worth $100,000 on the street, task force officials said.

        Mr. Mutter and Mr. Garity, who aren't currentlyenrolled at the university, also face felony drug trafficking charges in Bowling Green as a result of the search there. That case will be presented to a grand jury Sept. 4, Bowling Green police said.

        Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said her office rejected any deal that would have reduced the charges against Mr. Garity, even though he had no criminal record.

        “Although we sympathize with the parents, we can't let this go unpunished,” she said.

        Mr. Garity's attorney, Scott Schweiger, said his client has completed a substance abuse program and is “trying to turn himself around.”

        “I think it's something he got involved in at an early age, and it just got hold of his life,” Mr. Schweiger said.

       



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