An Orrville man who fled the area after he was indicted for drug trafficking accepted a plea deal.
Juan C. Lopez Urbieta, 46, of 1915 Viking Ave., pleaded no contest to a fifth-degree felony charge of possessing criminal tools, on Jan. 27 in Wayne County Common Pleas Court. The charge carried a forfeiture specification of $6,990.
Urbieta was found guilty by Judge Corey Spitler. Sentencing is scheduled for March 2.
Urbieta was indicted in 2013 with a codefendant — Ignacio “Nacho” Diego, 37, also of Orrville — for trafficking in cocaine following an investigation by the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency.
Don Hall, director of the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, said in 2013 the agency executed search warrants at a residence on Viking Avenue and on Back Orrville Road following a $3,000 purchase of cocaine.
Diego was apprehended and pleaded guilty to trafficking in June 2013. He was sentenced to three years in prison and is scheduled to be released March 12.
Urbieta, meanwhile, left the area, Hall said, until he was served the warrant in August.
During his Jan. 27 change of plea hearing, the state dismissed the indictment charging Urbieta with multiple counts of trafficking and possession, in exchange for a bill of information to which he pleaded no contest to possessing criminal tools.
Urbieta’s defense attorney, Jennifer Roberts, noted he is a Mexican national and not a United States citizen. She added a conviction could lead to him being deported and while a “no contest” plea may not change that outcome versus a guilty plea, that was the route he wished to pursue.
Assistant Prosecutor John Williams said when a search warrant was executed at Urbieta’s residence, the $6,990 in cash was found in a safe underneath his bed along with inositol powder, which led to the charge.
Williams said inositol powder, while a somewhat common chemical compound, is commonly used to cut into cocaine.
Wayne County Prosecutor Dan Lutz said the reasoning behind the plea deal was this “was a drug trafficking case that depended upon witnesses that could not now be located for trial.”
Reporter Steve Huszai can be reached at 330-287-1645 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @GeneralSmithie on Twitter.