Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Muskingum
from the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas, case no.
Plaintiff-Appellee: D. MICHAEL HADDOX MUSKINGUM CO.
PROSECUTOR GERALD V. ANDERSON
Defendant-Appellant: JAMES A. ANZELMO
JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.
Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.
Appellant Richard T. Maurer appeals from the May 24, 2018
Entry of the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas. Appellee
is the state of Ohio.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The following facts are adduced from appellee's statement
of facts at the change-of-plea hearing on April 16, 2018.
This case involves a criminal enterprise in which appellant
and associates received large shipments of Tramadol from
India, broke the pills down into smaller quantities in
Muskingum County, Ohio, and mailed them to
"customers" around the U.S.
In October 2016, 2500 doses of Tramadol were intercepted in
the mail, destined for an address shared by appellant and a
co-defendant. On November 18, 2016, postal employees assisted
the co-defendant with the mailing of an unsealed envelope and
multiple packs of Tramadol fell out of the envelope. On
December 5, 2016, another parcel destined for appellant's
P.O. Box was found to contain 2500 Tramadol pills.
A search warrant was executed at appellant's residence on
December 7, 2016, and the co-defendant was found inside the
residence with a young child. Law enforcement found shipping
lists of names and addresses for pills to be sent to after
processing at the residence. Tramadol pills were found
throughout the house, kitchen, and dining room. The
co-defendant's phone contained information regarding
"customers'" names, addresses, and
"orders" for pills. The co-defendant admitted to
the existence of a criminal enterprise for the distribution
of the pills with appellant and others. She was paid a salary
by the criminal enterprise to assist in processing orders for
Future shipments were diverted by law enforcement. Appellee
calculated a total of 59, 000 Tramadol pills were
Appellant was previously convicted of drug possession
(methamphetamine) in 2012.
Appellant was cooperative with law enforcement throughout
this investigation. At sentencing he argued that he believed
himself to be involved in "a legitimate online
prescription thing" because Tramadol is not generally a
drug of abuse and was only recently added to the list of
controlled substances. Thus, appellant and his co-defendant
took no steps to be secretive, to hide their home address or
other details of the mailing operation, and readily shared
information with law enforcement.
Appellant was charged by indictment with one count of
trafficking in drugs pursuant to R.C. 2925.03(A)(1), a felony
of the second degree [Count I]; one count of engaging in a
pattern of corrupt activity pursuant to R.C. 2923.32(A)(1), a
felony of the first degree [Count II]; and one count of
having a weapon while under disability pursuant to R.C.
2923.13(A)(3), a felony of the third degree [Count III].
Count I included a forfeiture specification pursuant to R.C.
On April 16, 2018, appellant withdrew his previously-entered
pleas of not guilty and entered pleas of guilty as charged.
The trial court thereupon found him guilty and deferred
sentencing pending preparation of a pre-sentence
Appellant appeared before the trial court for sentencing on
May 23, 2018. The trial court noted appellant had a prior
felony conviction, plus pending charges in Perry County
including, e.g., heroin and marijuana trafficking. The trial
court imposed sentence as follows: a stated prison term of 7
years upon Count I, a mandatory prison term of 8 years upon
Count II, and a stated prison term of 2 years upon Count III.
The trial court ordered that the terms are to be served
concurrently for a total aggregate prison term of 8 years.
The trial court further noted appellant is ordered to serve a
mandatory 5-year term of post-release control, and ordered
forfeiture of $5300 in cash and a firearm.
Appellant now appeals from the journal entries of his
convictions and sentence.
Appellant raises three ...