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A Streetsboro man convicted of causing a heroin overdose on the Ohio Turnpike in October — merely three months after being caught and charged with selling methamphetamine out of his Bates Drive residence — was sentenced this week to three years in prison.
Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman also fined Nicholas M. Tinch $5,000 and ordered him to forfeit $1,200 in illegal profits from the sale of meth to the Portage County Drug Task Force. He also was ordered to pay $292 in court costs.
Tinch, 28, of 10005 Bates Drive, pleaded guilty in April to corrupting another with drugs, a second-degree felony, and aggravated trafficking in drugs, a third-degree felony. Pittman gave him three years on the corrupting charge and two years, concurrent, on the trafficking charge for a total of three years.
Saying his client had no serious criminal record and was cooperative with law enforcement throughout the case, attorney Aaron Heavner argued for court-imposed inpatient drug treatment, followed by probation.
"NEOCAP and supervision will adequately punish him," Heavner said. He called his client "a pretty smart kid" who graduated from Streetsboro High School and briefly attended Hiram College.
Tinch said his addiction is "what led me down this path," and said he would abide by whatever sentence Pittman imposed.
"Whatever you deem acceptable, I accept," he said.
Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said the case against Tinch got rolling on July 13 last year after undercover drug agents purchased $40 worth of crystal meth from Tinch at his residence. He was placed under surveillance, and agents executed a search warrant that evening, he said.
Inside, they seized more than 5 grams of crystal meth found in the open on an end table, along with $1,200 in cash, digital scales, paper folds in which illegal drugs are often wrapped for sale and multiple firearms.
In court, Heavner said the firearms did not belong to his client and he had no ownership interest in them.
"Despite having been raided by the task force," Vigluicci said, that was not the end of Tinch's illegal drug activity, as he "sold heroin to a victim on Oct. 9."
The man overdosed, then passed out in his car while driving and crashed it on the Ohio Turnpike, Vigluicci said. He was revived with the anti-opioid drug Narcan, hospitalized and found with "high levels" of opiates in his system, Vigluicci said.
Interviewed by authorities after the crash, "it was determined (the victim) had purchased the drugs from Mr. Tinch," Vigluicci said.
For allegedly allowing Tinch to sell meth out of their house, his parents Lisa M. Tinch and Douglas M. Tinch, both 50, were charged in December with one count each of permitting drug abuse, both fifth-degree felonies. A specification to that charge could have resulted in the state seizing their house because the property was used in the commission of a felony drug crime.
Following plea negotiations, Douglas Tinch pleaded guilty May 10 to attempted permitting drug abuse, a first-degree misdemeanor, before Judge Becky Doherty. She sentenced him to 180 days in jail, then suspended all of the jail time on the conditions he pay his court costs within six months and commit no similar criminal offenses in the future.
Prosecutors declined to pursue forfeiture of the property, though the Tinches gave up all legal rights to the cash and firearms seized during the July raid, according to court records. The lone charge against Lisa Tinch was dismissed on May 10 by the prosecutor's office, records show.