Key informant missing before drug hearingsAuthorities have not been able to locate a man used as a confidential informant in numerous drug busts, attorneys said at a hearing in the Stark County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities have not been able to locate a man used as a confidential informant in numerous drug busts, attorneys said at a hearing in the Stark County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon.
Kevin McCabe, who has several clients accused of being involved with that confidential informant, said it’s unclear what will happen if he is not located during a phone interview Tuesday.
“Everybody has the right to face their accuser, and he’s their accuser,” McCabe said.
A pretrial conference for Philip Bennett, who is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, was postponed Tuesday because of the issue.
Jay Greenwood, Bennett’s attorney, said he wants to wait until the matter is resolved to hold another hearing.
“This is a pretty far reaching question,” Greenwood said of the matter.
Bennett’s arrest was part of a narcotic enforcement operation conducted in Stark County earlier this year which produced 23 suspects and 17 arrests in July.
After the hearing, Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning said most of those arrested in that operation utilized the confidential informant who has not been located.
Henning declined further comment after the hearing and calls to Greenwood went unreturned.
The plan was to take the confidential informant’s statement today and apply it to all the cases, McCabe said.
“All I know for sure is that we were scheduled to take his deposition tomorrow and now they’re telling us he’s not available,” he said Tuesday. “So now we’re going to have to reassess it on a case-by-case basis.”
In other matters, a pretrial conference for Stacey Thornton, who was charged with allegedly delivering a controlled substance, was postponed.
Thornton was arrested as part of the July operation as well, but her case does not include an alleged sale to a confidential informant, Henning said.
Marissa Soehren, who was also involved in the operation, had a preliminary hearing Monday afternoon.
Her original bond was revoked and she must also have to participate in a sobriety program as a new condition of bond, Henning said. She pleaded not guilty at the hearing as well, he added.