Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Belmont
Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Belmont
County, Ohio Case No. 16 CR 221
Daniel P. Fry, Prosecutor, and Atty. J. Flanagan, Assistant
Prosecutor, (NO BRIEF FILED) for Plaintiff-Appellee, and
Rhys Cartwright-Jones, for Defendant-Appellant.
BEFORE: Gene Donofrio, Cheryl L. Waite, Carol Ann Robb,
OPINION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
Defendant-appellant, Santino Raphael-Hopkins, appeals his
conviction following a guilty plea in the Belmont County
Common Pleas Court for: drug trafficking of cocaine in
violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1)(C)(4)(a), a fifth-degree
felony; attempted drug possession of heroin in violation of
R.C. 2925.11(A)(2)(C)(6)(d), a third-degree felony; drug
possession of cocaine in violation of R.C.
2925.11(A)(C)(4)(c), a third-degree felony.
On or about August 2, 2016, appellant was operating a motor
vehicle in Belmont County, Ohio. Two deputies from the
Belmont County Sheriffs Department initiated a traffic stop
of appellant for failing to use a turn signal. Upon
approaching appellant's vehicle, the deputies smelled
what they believed was burning marijuana. The deputies
requested appellant's driver's license, registration,
and proof of insurance. Appellant could not produce either
his license or proof of insurance. Appellant claimed that the
car was a rental car but could not produce the rental
Appellant was then removed from the car and frisked for
weapons. While the frisk revealed no weapons, the deputy who
frisked appellant noticed a large object in one of
appellant's pockets which he believed to be a large
amount of cash. The deputy also felt a hard object in another
one of appellant's pockets. Appellant then confessed that
the hard object was something "bad." When the
deputy asked what appellant meant, appellant admitted that
the hard object contained drugs. The deputies then searched
the car and appellant. The searches yielded several bags of
crack, cocaine, and heroin in various amounts as well as $2,
445 in cash.
A Belmont County Grand Jury indicted appellant on seven
Count one: drug trafficking in violation of R.C.
2925.03(A)(1)(C)(4)(a) a fifth-degree felony;
Count two: drug trafficking in violation of R.C.
2925.03(A)(1)(C)(6)(a), a fifth-degree felony;
Count three: drug trafficking in violation of R.C.
2925.03(A)(1)(C)(1)(a), a fourth-degree felony;
Count four: drug possession in violation of R.C.
2925.11(A)(C)(6)(d), a second-degree felony;
Count five: drug trafficking in violation of R.C.
2925.03(A)(2)(C)(6)(e), a ...