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Freedom man jailed for 100 days, pays $10,000 fine for growing, selling marijuana

By Dave O'Brien | staff writer Published: August 27, 2013 4:00 AM
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A Freedom man who grew and sold marijuana on his property in August 2011 will avoid prison but spend 100 days in the Portage County jail and pay a $10,000 fine after a judge found that he was a low risk to the community.

Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman told Bryan J. Fagen, 46, of 6935 S.R. 303, that he overcame a presumption of a prison term for cultivating marijuana on his property and selling it in August 2011, prior to his arrest by the Portage County Drug Task Force. She did, however, fine him $10,000.

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nets guilty plea from Freedom man

She said it was in Fagen's favor that he had no prior criminal record and a low risk of re-offending, as determined by the Ohio Risk Assessment System. She also placed him on five year's probation, ordered him to get a drug and alcohol evaluation, and follow all of the recommendations of the evaluation. His driver's license was suspended for one year with privileges for work, probation, counseling and addiction recovery meetings.

Fagen pleaded guilty to one count each of illegal cultivation of marijuana and trafficking in marijuana, both third-degree felonies, on June 14. He faced a maximum of six years in prison. Pittman said she would impose the six-year sentence if Fagen violates his probation.

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"I don't blame anybody for my problems except myself," Fagen told Pittman prior to receiving his sentence. "I jeopardized my home and my mother's home. If I could take it back I would."

Defense attorney Samuel Amendolara said his client was "very honest and remorseful" form the beginning. A homeowner who is self-employed, he said Fagen "recognizes the seriousness of his case, because he could have lost his home" along with additional property in the 9600 block of Bryant Road. The Portage County Prosecutor's Office declined to seize Fagen's real estate because it had liens on it in excess of its value, Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said previously.

Fagen forfeited a Suzuki ATV and three firearms -- a shotgun, a rifle and a handgun -- to the drug task force as proceeds of illegal drug sales. Drug agents charged him with growing between 11 and 44 pounds of marijuana on his property with the intent of selling it on or about Aug. 9, 2011.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

Facebook: Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Twitter: @RCCrimeWatch


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butterfly1979 Aug 27, 2013 5:05 PM

In my opinion the sentence was way to harsh considerin the other things that are MUCH worse going on in our society. Like ppl thieving from us as we sleep at night, known crackheads still roaming the streets cuz they must be caught in the act. Truth is the police dont want to deal with those type of ppl in fear for their life.What about DUIs? You can drive DRUNK how many times before you get fancy plates???? INSTEAD of pulling their license maybe 2nd offense? NO justice system waits until someone loses their life the they get about a yr in jail. Pot is already legal in some states sooo when it becomes legal in Ohio will he get restituition for wrongful jail time, or get his 10 grand back? Its really a pathetic justice system we have these days.Makes me embarassed to be an American.

redleg6 Aug 27, 2013 3:15 PM

From above article: Fagen "growing between 11 and 44 pounds of marijuana on his property" Which is it 11 pounds or 44? Who made up the numbers? The task force must not have a scale.

If Fagen would have killed somebody in a traffic crash, he would have gotten a lighter sentence.....She did, however, fine him $10,000.

From RC article a few days ago: Allison D. West, 37, pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter, a second-degree misdemeanor, on May 9. On July 23, Portage County Municipal Court Judge Mark Fankhauser sentenced West to 90 days in the Portage County jail, with work release privileges, and fined her $750, according to court records. 45 days were suspended....

Another FAIR and JUST sentence brought to you by the "Portage County Discount House of Justice" "Lowest Sentences, Always"!!!  "No Plea Deal Refused"

Maybe when pot is legal, folks will be able to use their SNAP card for purchases?

scoop Aug 27, 2013 2:47 PM

In Washington State and In Colorado Bryan would be called a business man.  In what remains of Portage County he is called a felon.  The war on drugs in Portage county has been nothing short of a waste of taxpayer money.  Perhaps a cash crop could help put the no shortage in Portage to good use.

anonymous Aug 27, 2013 2:14 PM

Well here we go again, the drugs made me do it defense cut 6 years down to 100 days in jail. No wonder that drugs are everywhere. According to the Akron Beacon people cooking meth has gone up 467% in 5 years. (Page B2 Akron Beacon Aug. 26, 2013). Way to go judges you dam reduction in prison population is not worth a dam. The State is suppose to protect its’ citizens from these drug dealers. You are the first line of defense and you are failing miserably. This dam vacation in Warren does not work. Your law is like a dog, no one is afraid of it if it does not bite.