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.
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.
"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.
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