Vindicator Logo

Drug dealer gets jail sentence

By Bob Jackson

Friday, May 30, 2003

The Market Street man was imprisoned despite his plea to be placed on probation.
& lt;a & gt;By BOB JACKSON & lt;/a & gt;
YOUNGSTOWN -- Donald Lewis said he never meant to do anything wrong; he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Judge Jack Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court didn't buy it and sent Lewis to prison for a year.
Lewis, who is known as "Fatman," was convicted by a jury in March of one count of cocaine trafficking, a fourth-degree felony. His sentencing was Thursday.
The 28-year-old Market Street man, dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt, pleaded with the judge to not send him to prison.
"Maybe I shouldn't have hung around with some of the people I hung around with," Lewis said. "But I had no intention of doing anything wrong. I just want to raise my kid."
What happened
Lewis did not testify at his trial, but a defense witness testified that Lewis had been given a manila envelope with instructions to deliver it to an Austintown bar. The witness said Lewis did not know there was cocaine in the envelope.
But assistant prosecutor Terry Grenga said Lewis was secretly taped talking to a police informant, and that the conversation clearly indicated he knew there was drugs in the package.
"I think it was much more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Judge Durkin said. "It was more than a mistake that led you to take cocaine to that bar."
Deputies linked two pairs of handcuffs together so Lewis' hands could be cuffed behind his back after he was sentenced.
Lewis asked for time to go home and make arrangements for the care of his 22-month-old daughter, but the judge refused. He said Lewis should have made those arrangements before sentencing.
Drug network
Lewis was one of seven men indicted in 2001 for operating what authorities said was a major drug network, selling more than 330 pounds of cocaine in the area over a 10-year period.
Authorities have said the men supplied cocaine to others, who sold it at bars in the city's suburbs and on the West Side.
Defense attorney Ted Macejko asked for probation, pointing out that one of the other suspects, Robert Treharn of Champion, had been placed on probation.
Macejko said Treharn and Shawn Willis of Poland were the "cornerstones" of the operation and "the gatekeepers of cocaine coming into Mahoning County."
Willis was sentenced to four years in prison. Both had pleaded guilty rather than going to trial.
Grenga said prison is appropriate for Lewis, and asked for the maximum sentence of 18 months.
Six of the seven men indicted in the cocaine ring now have either pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial. Only John Orosz of Patricia Avenue is still awaiting trial.
& lt;a & gt; & lt;/a & gt;